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The Path of the Just

Chapter 19 (Part 10)

Though only the pious would find it easy to express true, out-and-out love of G-d, we’re each charged to love Him as we’d said. So we’d clearly need to explore just how to.

In fact, Ramchal says, there are three ways we can express that love: by attaching ourselves onto G-d’s presence, by enjoying true happiness in life because of our love of Him, and by being zealous about and protective of our loving relationship to G-d. We’ll expand on the idea of attaching ourselves onto G-d’s presence here and come to the others afterwards.

Understand of course that the actual experience of attaching oneself onto G-d’s very presence will only come about in The World to Come, and it will be an utterly spiritual and unspeakable sublime phenomenon. But that isn’t our concern here. (See 1:1 for an allusion to that, though). But understand as well that the truly pious experience a degree of that repeatedly in this life, in accordance with their spiritual accomplishments.

Ramchal expands on their earthly experience of attaching themselves unto G-d’s presence elsewhere in his writings. He indicates at one point for example that the pious experience it as a form of sacred intimacy, if you will (see Da’at Tevunot 160), and as a forfeiting of one’s very self before G-d’s overarching presence (see Adir Bamarom p. 61). He likewise underscores it as being the highest human spiritual reach possible -- one that even the very loftiest and most magnificent angels could never attain to (see Ginzei Ramchal p. 277).

As far as we’re concerned though (as opposed to the pious), attaching oneself to G-d comes down to “clutching onto His name at all times with all your heart, so that you care about nothing else” as Ramchal puts it. That’s to say that it involves appreciating G-d’s manifest presence in this world as often and as deeply as you can. (His presence is termed His “name” since G-d can be said to “sign” His name to everything in this world He interacts with; and we’re to care for signs of that as much as we would care for signs that a beloved might leave behind as a secret memo.)


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and

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



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