Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Path of the Just:

Chapter 20 (Part 1)

If even the loveliest of things can seem coarse in poor light, and the sweetest of dishes can sour a day later, it stands to reason that even a seemingly pious act can go off-kilter out of context. Now, that’s a hard lesson for any one of us to learn, to say nothing of the pious. For when someone sets out to do good, he or she never expects it to go wrong. But even the best of intentions can go off course.

As such, Ramchal calls for upon the pious to always engage in what he terms “evaluating piety” -- determining beforehand whether what they’re about to do will do good, as they’d like it to, or the very opposite.

But being “the most difficult and subtle element of piety” as Ramchal terms it, and the one that “the yetzer harah has a lot of input in” to boot, it’s not easy to carry this evaluating process off. As “the yetzer harah can convince you to avoid doing many good things…, and can draw you into committing many transgressions” if your judgment’s off on this.

“In truth,” he says, “the only way one can do this evaluating process well is to fulfill these three conditions”. First, “your heart must be the most forthright of hearts”; second, “your only motivation should be to bring satisfaction to G-d”; and third, “you should reflect deeply upon your actions” and their outcomes from the first.

But even then it might not work, though; because people are often capricious, and situations are invariably un-readable beforehand. So, what are we to do then? “Cast your lot upon G-d” and pray for the best.

Disregard this warning and do whatever you assume will be for the best, Ramchal warns, “and you’ll be dangerously close to stumbling and falling” instead of doing good. And your piety would have lead to dire impiety.


 

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 REEH:

View Complete List

Who Do You Trust?
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Ellul Reflection & Return
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Concentrate!
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Enjoy the Ride
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

We Are One Person
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Serve Hashem "His" Way
Shlomo Katz - 5761

> The Street
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

See, It's A Matter Of Choice
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Olympic Success... or Failure?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

ArtScroll

Open Your Heart, and Your Hand
Shlomo Katz - 5759

See What Can Be Seen
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

The Jewish Calendar
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Let's Stick Together
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Ashrei!
Shlomo Katz - 5773

A Spoon and a Handle
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Parashat Reeh
Shlomo Katz - 5768



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