Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

"The Path of the Just"
Ch. 6 (Part 3)

The truth of the matter is that the sort of sluggishness that holds us back we’ve been referring to is very sly and crafty … though it can also be silly, as when it manages to have us do and say more and more in order to do less, as we’ll see.

It’s sly since it “doesn’t come (upon you) in one fell swoop” which would tip you off; instead it comes over you “slowly and without notice … one bad deed after another, until you find yourself sunk” in the mire, as Ramchal terms it, too lazy to escape.

It’s also sophisticated since it touches on our Torah aside from our mitzvah-observance. It encourages us to settle for surface study, when in fact Torah is endlessly deep and wide, and one could plumb as far down and dart out as far along as he’d like in his studies.

But this is where it gets silly: when, as Ramchal depicts it, it has us strain ourselves to come up with all sorts of excuses for inaction. It has us say things like, “’Let me eat a little’ (first), or ‘let me sleep a little’” before we’ll set out to do a mitzvah. Or it has us complain that “‘it's hard for me to leave my house’ … or ‘it's so hot outside’, or ‘it's too cold’, or ‘it's raining out’”. But in the end, as we all know, “Torah-study is left aside, Divine service is left undone, and we come to abandon our Creator”.

The truth is, most of us would try to rationalize our poor choices. We’d “retort with all kinds of sayings of the Sages, scriptural passages and logical explanations to prove … that we should have it easy and be left in our lazy ways.” After all, if a cogent, well-reasoned argument for something is convincing enough, a quote from the Torah or the Talmud should do wonders!

But as King Solomon said, "A lazy man is more sagacious in his own eyes than seven people who can give sensible answers" (Proverbs 26:16). That’s to say that sometimes the excuses we offer for avoiding something isn’t generated by wisdom so much as by laziness itself.

And so Ramchal offers us this rather strong warning: “It’s important to know … that … every leniency” -- every tendency to be less righteous rather than more so --“should be carefully and thoroughly thought-out beforehand. For, even though it may seem to be just and right, it’s still and all very possible that it’s the advice of the yetzer harah”. For, you may decide that it would be “wise” not to do a particular good thing, because (for example) you might seem to be showing off by doing it. The truth would more likely be that you weren’t motivated by humility so much as by lethargy.

That’s not to deny the fact that we sometimes have to struggle to transcend inertia and actually do good. So Ramchal thus offers us this. “In truth,” he says, “human beings are just that-- humans, and not angels. So it’s impossible for us to have the might of the angels”, who quickly and effortlessly do good. Nonetheless, we’d do well to “get as close to this level as we possibly can”.


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


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

How Do We Approach This Child?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Who Knows One?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Pesach Answers - Chad Gadya
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

ArtScroll

Freedom and Speech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Matzah and Maror - Worthy Mechutanim
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Telling Others
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

You and Your Sons
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Why Next Year in Jerusalem?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

> Significance of the Omer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Ha Lachma Anya
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Lessons In Exile
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Focus on the Counting
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

All Alone
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Pesach Food
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

The Meaning of Freedom
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760



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