Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Path of the Just

Chapter 18 (Part 2)

We’re all charged by G-d to observe His mitzvahs, and our people have long followed that path. It’s just that some of us do it nonchalantly, by fulfilling their obligations to be sure by being here or there when that’s asked of them, and doing this and that when that’s what’s needed, but they do nothing more. No passion, no zeal, no search for G-d.

However laudable it is to observe the mitzvahs (and it’s quite admirable to make a life-long commitment to G-d Almighty day after day when the great preponderance of humanity turns its back on G-d), still and all one who follows through in that sort of casual way simply isn’t “pious”.

Only someone who not only fulfills his or her obligations to G-d but offers a gift to Him, if you will, in the process -- who not only does what G-d requires but does mitzvahs as a sort of offering of sheer love to Him is truly pious.

As Ramchal words it, “one who truly loves G-d wouldn’t merely set out to do what all of Israel‘s obliged to do”. Instead, “he’d act like a loving child” by “doing even more than what his father would ask for”.

And so for example, even if “his father had asked for something only once, and demurely at that, that would be enough for such a child to perceive the extent of his father's true wishes”. The loving child we’re asked to emulate “would deduce that such-and-such -- something beyond what he was told -- would actually make his father happy” and he’d set out to do it.

“One who truly loves G-d” and who’s thus fitting to be considered pious, “would have just this sort of reaction to Him”. The mitzvahs “would be mere allusions to him of G-d's actual wishes” and he’d expand upon them.

Piety is also the obverse of abstention (our last trait). For where abstention came down to avoiding sin, piety is rooted in seeking out mitzvahs. But abstention and piety are actually two sides of the same coin in that both are rooted in “superseding the letter of the law … to bring satisfaction to G-d”.


 

Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org

Rabbi Feldman's new book, Bachya Ibn Pakuda's The Duties of the Heart, is now available! Order Now


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

What Are We Mourning on the Ninth of Av
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765

The Eye Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Speech That Never Ends
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Moshe's Personal Assessment
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

One Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Learning to Love What Is!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Born To Be Wise
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Hidden Yet Loving
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

ArtScroll

Rebuking 101
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Small Allusions
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

A Day of Rebuilding
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

> Soft Sell
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5763

Visionary Words
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Small Favors
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Because of Us, not Through Us
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770



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