The Path of the Just
Ch. 9 (Part 4)
Confident that he’d explained “enthusiasm” well enough, Ramchal prepares
to leave it up to us now, assured that “the wise will become wiser yet and
will take in what they can” to succeed.
Now, there’s some reason to think that the trait of “enthusiasm” should
have come before “caution” rather than vice versa, as had been laid out in
The Path of the Just. After all, wouldn’t we be expected to head out
zealously from the first and watch out for snares after the fact? But
Ramchal argues otherwise.
“It’s only right that ‘enthusiasm’ should follow ‘caution’” he
declares, “for all in all a person can’t be enthusiastic if he isn’t first
For, “someone who hasn’t set it in his heart to be cautious in his
actions, and to reflect upon service to G-d and its principles” from the
beginning -- that is, the person who hadn’t first reflected on drawing
close to G-d and set that as the core of his life’s work -- “would find it
hard to be both enveloped by love and longing for Divine service and
enthused with a yearning for his Creator”. Why? Because he’d “still be
stuck in the attractions of the physical world, and would go about doing
the very things that just naturally keep him away from all this” since he
hadn’t set his goals straight. He’d easily be waylaid by lovely earth and
lose sight of shimmering Heaven.
As it’s only “after you will have opened your eyes to take a look at your
actions and to be cautious in them, and to reckon the worth of mitzvot
versus sins”, which is all part of drawing close to G-d, that “you will
find it easy to keep from doing harmful things and will … be enthusiastic
about the good”.
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org