You know how our minds work. We often enough “rationalize that certain
things are permissible, when they’re (really) not” (as Ramchal puts it)
and so we partake of them, then brush aside nagging doubts and guilty
feelings. But the truth be known, those may be the self-same things that
will come back to bite us in the end. For, as our sages taught, "The ve ry
sins that people dash under their heels (i.e., walk past without a
thought) are the ones that surround them at the time of judgment" (Avodah
So we’d all do well to be careful.
But it’s frankly very, very hard being so meticulous. For, while “obvious
and well-known sins are easy enou gh to avoid” when you’re honest with
yourself, still and all “the kind of meticulous scrutiny required
for ‘innocence’ is hard to come by” Ramchal points out, and it challenges
even the greatest souls.
For, there are some very subtle things at work here which touch on the day
to day conflict we’re all embroiled in having to do with our wish on one
hand to grow in our beings, and our concurrent fantasies about getting our
hands on everything we can in the world at the same time.
Ramchal concludes this chapter by acknowledging, “in truth, it’s very
difficult to foster this trait” since “our natures are weak, our hearts
are easily swayed”. So, the sort of person who actual achieves “innocence”
will have “proven himself to have withstood temptation and to have been
victorious in a mighty war”.
And he then leads us on to the next and longest chapter in The Path of the
Just, which touches on some very important, practical dilemmas.