"The Way of G-d"
Part 1: "The Fundamental Principles of Reality"
Ch. 4: "Human Responsibility"
Ramchal concludes this chapter on human responsibility with a reiteration of
an argument he’d been making up till now. Twice in this short paragraph he
recounts what the "*true* purpose of the mitzvot" is. And that’s for a number
Primarily to underscore the fact that mitzvot serve a deeper, far more
compelling role in the world than we imagine (i.e., they’re not just "good
deeds", or lovely expressions of cultural pride, as we indicated before;
they’re agents of sweeping change and consequence). But also to advise us to
tend to them as diligently and purposefully as we would anything of such
magnitude; and to see them as means to an end.
For as he puts it, the mitzvah system is actually meant to provide us with
the means to engage with G-d, draw closer to Him, and bask in His "light"
(which, as we described the last time, nourishes us spiritually and grants us
spiritual health and vitality).
As Ramchal explained in "The Path of the Just" (Ch. 1), "Our sages... taught
us that we were created to delight in G-d and enjoy the radiance of His
Divine presence...." And that "the means to bring you to this goal are *the
mitzvot*." Hence, mitzvot do indeed serve as a means to an end, and that end
is closeness to G-d.
He also says here that we’re to be sure to avoid anything that would lead us
away from them and from G-d Himself. He expands upon that point in "The Path
of The Just", too.
He says there that "it’s only fitting... that there be no goal in any of your
actions, large or small, other than to get close to G-d and to *eradicate the
barriers that separate you from Him*” which he identifies as "matters of this
world (alone, and nothing more) and the sorts of things that depend on them."
That’s to say that we’re to be careful not to be distracted by the various
electric and loud curios that dazzle the eye, and carry away the heart from
its desired end.
Ramchal’s final point here is that "the actual minutiae of the mitzvot"
(i.e., what exactly to do, when, and under what circumstances) have great,
great significance vis a vis our souls and the spirit of the world in
general. And that while *some* of that will be discussed in later portions of
this work, he wouldn’t be explaining all of them. For there are many of them,
each one matters, and this work was only meant to serve as an introduction.
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