The two types of yirah
ועתה ישראל מה יקוק אלקיך שואל מעמך כי אם-ליראה את-יקוק אלקיך וגו’
And now Israel, what does Hashem your G-d ask from you, just to fear Hashem your G-d…
This weeks parsha tells us the main thing that Hashem asks from us: to be ירא him. There are various ways to translate this word, usually “fear” or “awe”. We are commanded to have fear and awe of Hashem. However, there are two types of יראה. There’s יראת העונש, fear of punishment, and יראת הרוממות, awe of Hashem’s loftiness. The former is easy to obtain, and the latter is considered a high level in the service of Hashem. We can then ask, when the Torah tell us the main thing Hashem wants from us is to fear and have awe of Him, which יראה is this referring to? Fear of punishment, or awe of Hashem’s loftiness?