When perceived of in its most literal sense, love is one of a number of particular powers of the soul, manifest specifically through the emotions. When defined though, in its broadest sense, love is the light and "spirit" of life that brings all states of potential to actuality, developing and opening up all the varied powers of the soul. In this sense, love is not only a particular quality of the soul but a general power present in the full gamut of intellectual, emotional and innate properties of the human psyche. This light of love, is the "light of the Holy One Blessed be He," whose impetus to create the world and the means He used to do so is love. Therein lies the secret of light being the initial creative act of the first day of Creation. Thus, love is the creative force or flow of energy from G-d to "reality." The lack of love is, by analogy, a state of darkness, with all that the image of darkness and void, melancholy and depression represent.
The Creation of the world "something from nothing," through the impetus of love, teaches us the secret of bringing hidden potential to fruition. Chochmah ("wisdom") the first of the intellectual powers of the soul, manifests itself as flashes of insight enlightening consciousness. These instantaneous "lightening bolts" are in a state of pure potential, in need of development. The word chochmah permutes to the words koach mah, "the power [or 'potential,' koach] of what [or 'nothing,' mah]." The word for "thought," machshavah, similarly permutes to form the words chashav mah, "thinking (chashav) of what (mah)." Wisdom, like all the other faculties of the soul is a vessel. That which fills the vessel is the light and life-force of love hidden within it.
The development of any thought, plan or talent entails the inner awakening of love, which is needed to jump-start the process of growth. Love is the flowering of the soul and without it all withers and dies away.
Two other major characteristics of love are revealed in its constant comparison to water in Kabbalah. The two aspects of water that establish it as an appropriate symbol of love are its property of adhesion, by which water causes elements to cling together, and its nature to descend.
Love is the primary force of attraction in the soul, whereby an individual is drawn to other souls, situations or objects, each one needed to rectify and complete some aspect of his purpose in the world. The power of love is sufficient to draw manifold energies together, including at times opposites, to complete a task, run an organization or pursue the objectives of a cause. This can be seen in religion, politics, families and community affairs–to mention just a few. On an individual basis, love is the essential force bringing people together and the "glue " that keeps varied relationships on course. The dissipation of love will invariably weaken, harm or break apart those relationships.
"G-d desired to have a dwelling place in the lower worlds" (Midrash Tanchuma Naso 16). The concept of G-d "descending" through Creation to progressively lower worlds is in order that He ultimately reunite and cling to the world, the object of His love. Similarly, one who loves "descends" to the level of his beloved, ensuring that the desired love actually reaches and fulfills its recipient. One cannot hope to connect to others by remaining aloof and insular. Only by descending from the "ivory tower" of ego can love manifest itself.