We’d been introduced to “caution” by a quick foray into the Garden of
Eden, when wrongdoing and folly came to the fore (see 2:1). We’ll begin
our discussion of Ramchal’s next trait, “enthusiasm”, with a leap into the
Messianic Era, when all of that will start to be undone.
Ramchal will clue us into the latent spiritual nature of “enthusiasm” --
in terms of a sense of zest and quickness -- when he’ll say in the next
chapter that enthusiasm is “the one great trait of perfection presently
lacking in human nature”. How could he say that, when so many people are
enthusiastic about so many things? Obviously, then, we’re talking about
something other than simple enthusiasm for a project or a career for
example. So let’s turn to a reference he makes about the Messianic Era in
another work to see what Ramchal’s referring to.
Things will begin to become extraordinary then, Ramchal points out.
For “joy will be very great, and blessings will grow greater and greater”,
and time will quickly and enthusiastically begin to shorten, in
that “everything will occur instantaneously” (Ma’amar HaGeulah 42). In
fact, we’re told that “(A) woman will conceive and be in labor at once”
(Jeremiah 31:8) then. And that zest and quickness will be a physical sign
of the sort of enthusiasm that will prevail. So we see that there’s a
definite other-worldly side to enthusiasm.
Ramchal says elsewhere, in fact, that while enthusiasm is angelic, as is
demonstrated by the verse that reads “And the Chayot-Angels ran to and fro
like bolts of lightning” (Ezekiel 1:14), its opposite, laziness, is rooted
in unholiness (Adir Bamarom p. 291). So let’s explore the sort of
enthusiasm we’d need to muster to achieve spiritual excellence.