Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Path of the Just

Ramchal’s Introduction (Part 5)

It was none other than Moshe Rabbeinu who laid out the parameters of true piety near his death, like a loving master leaving behind essential lessons for his disciples. Imagine the moment and the anticipation! The one and only individual to whom “G-d would speak … face to face, the way a man speaks with his friend” (Exodus 33:11) was about to divulge a path to holiness.

This is how he put it. “And now, Israel -- what does G-d your L-rd require of you” in the end, you ask? None other than to “revere G-d your L-rd, to go in all of His ways, to love Him and serve (Him) with full heart and soul, and to keep all of G-d's commandments and statutes” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

So, what Ramchal set out to do from there was to smooth the jagged edges of this statement by defining some terms.

"Revering G-d”, as he put it, means “being in the same state of reverence before Him that you’d be standing before a great and awesome king”, which is to say, to stand at rapt attention in G-d’s presence, and to be “abashed before His greatness”.

"Going in His ways" doesn’t merely mean adhering to His mitzvah-system (which will come up shortly) but “rectifying your character” and following G-d’s lead in that, if you will. For as our sages put it, "Just as He is compassionate, you are to be compassionate; just as He is gracious, you are to be gracious, and so forth” (Shabbat 133B). “The point,” Ramchal adds, “is that all of your traits and actions are to be just and ethical”.

"Loving G-d” comes to more than standing in blissful attention at His presence. It focuses upon “doing what pleases Him” while “deriving a great deal of joy” in the process. And being troubled “if G-d is somehow displeased by (what) you or someone else” does in disrespect.

Serving G-d with "fullness of heart" not only means doing so wholeheartedly as the term implies, but also “with the purest of intentions”. That means to say, to “serve Him for no other reason whatsoever” than to simply serve Him, and in a way that’s “not conflicted, but full”, and not by “rote, but rather with your full self.”

And "keeping all of G-d's commandments" is to be taken quite literally, and we’re to thus observe them “in full and with all of their conditions”.

Ramchal decided to base The Path of the Just upon a well-known statement by Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yaer that lays out a detailed methodology for accomplishing all that. As Pinchas Ben Yaer put it, “Torah study leads to caution, caution leads to enthusiasm, enthusiasm leads to innocence, innocence leads to abstinence, abstinence leads to purity, purity leads to piety, piety leads to modesty, modesty leads to fear of sin, fear of sin leads to holiness, holiness leads to Divine inspiration, and Divine inspiration leads to the resurrection of the dead” (Avoda Zarah 20B).

And he concluded this introduction by promising to “explain each trait’s particulars and gradations, the means to attain them, as well as their respective deterrents and how to avoid those” in the course of this work. May G-d grant us each the ability to grasp and live by these insights.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

After the Ashes
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

In Good Standing
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

The Longest Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

> Moshe Went, but Never Left
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Inspiration - On the Spur of the Moment
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Going Beyond Realization
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Giving in to the Dictates of One's Heart
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Why Is Rosh Hashanah Hiding?
Shlomo Katz - 5774

The Doors to Teshuva Never Fully Close
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Let the Light In!
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Encouraging News Before Rosh Hashana
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Lost in Translation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

ArtScroll

Sputterless
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

An Urge to Be Even Better
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Vayelech
- 5769

Was Moshe a Bad Neighbor?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information