Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Path of the Just

Chapter 15 (Part 1)

It’s one thing understanding that we’d all need to abstain from something or another if we’re to grow in our being, especially if we hope to be pious. But it’s quite another thing knowing how to actually do it. We always want more and more (especially in our age, when so much is within reach and so many things seem to call out to us), so what practical advice can Ramchal offer?

“The best way to acquire abstinence” he says, is to “realize the crassness of the pleasures of the world and their inherent inferiority, as well as the great harm that can so easily result from them.” That’s to say that we’re to reformulate our attitudes and priorities. If we’d only realize just how crass some of our desires are -- how beneath us, how soiled and unsavory they are and how harmful, he asserts, we’d surely come to our senses.

Now, many have tried things just like that, the truth be known, and have failed. What then is the shadowy, veiled mechanism in the mind that allows it to be fooled like that? “The seductive powers” of the things we crave, Ramchal declares. Things side up to us, if you will, whisper in our ears and charm us into hearing them out, and we succumb.

In fact, it’s a primal problem that goes back to Adam and Eve (see 2:1-2 above for a lengthy discussion of that; also see Da’at Tevunot 40). “Seduction is in fact what caused the first sin to be committed” Ramchal reminds us; for as the Torah attests, "The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and that it was pleasing to the eyes ... (so) she took from its fruit and ate from it" (Genesis 3:6). (Ramchal offers several fascinating Kabbalistic insights in Adir Bamarom pp. 177, 273, and 309 into the unique role that eyes play in being tempted.)

He seems to offer that we’re to actually picture ourselves as being attracted to something or another that we should avoid (when he says that the object at hand is to become “clear to you”, that is, in your mind). Do that, he offers, and you’ll see the foolishness of your attraction to it from what’s termed a critical-distance and that will convince you of just “you how utterly false, unreal and ephemeral its pleasures are, yet how real and immanent the harm that will come from them is to you”.

You’ll get to the point, he says, where you’ll “certainly be disgusted” and off-put by your cravings. And you’ll find it far easier to abstain from them.


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


 






ARTICLES ON YOM KIPPUR:

View Complete List

Yom Kippur and the Pathways to Joy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Completing The Process
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5764

Yom Kippur: Of Angels & Men
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

> Understanding Our Special Conduct
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Yom Kippur
Shlomo Katz - 5773

A Yom Kippur to Remember
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

ArtScroll

Yom Kippur Melodies
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Call to Arms
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Thoughts About Prayer Before Yom Kippur
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Lesson for Life
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Growing Through the Holidays: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkos
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Merits, Middles and Majorities
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Jonah’s Dilemma
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Must it Be the Same Old Me?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

A Fast –Fast Day
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

After Six Comes Seven
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762



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