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.)