Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Duties of the Heart

Gate Two: "Reflecting Upon Created Things

Introduction

We'll do what we can in this second gate to catch sight of G-d's presence in our midst and thus confirm His existence. But we'll see something else too along the way -- just how good He is to us.

Now while no one can ignore the pain and sorrow many people suffer, the often overlooked underlying goodness of it all can't be denied either -- once we're made aware of it. And that will be our task here.

The truth be known, many of us will be hard pressed to accept the points Ibn Pakudah will make below -- simply because we're so mired in the very symptoms he lays out, and thus find it difficult seeing how very right he is. In many ways we're like inveterate alcoholics who like our whiskey too much to own up to how much havoc it's wreaking in our lives. For as we'll find, it's i ronically very often our own inability to recognize all the good G-d has granted us that causes us our pain and sorrow.

Perhaps, then, it would do us well to especially ponder the ideas presented below and take them to heart. Because if we're ever to achieve spiritual excellence as we'd like to, we'd need to own up to a number of things that elude us, no matter how unpleasant hearing them said outright may be for now. Because in the end we'll recognize the truth and genuinely be the people we'd like to be.

So why in fact don't we realize how good G-d is to us, and why do so many of us scoff at the very idea? For three reasons, as Ibn Pakudah sees it.

First, because we're virtually absorbed in the material side of the world and look to it for succor. So we tend to be bedazzled by the magic of this and that thing and quickly lose interest in everything G-d has already granted us, complain about the things we don't have and oftentimes don't need, and think life is bad.

Second, because we all grow up with a plethora of G-d-given favors -- large and small, apparent and inapparent -- which we then grow used to and come to accept as a "given". And by the time we realize all we have, we're already too preoccupied to appreciate it, and have grown slack in our gratitude. In a way we can all be said to be like spoiled brats that way.

And third, because we simply don't understand the nature of suffering, and think well-being and comfort is due us. In truth, life itself is a gift--- a veritable usually several decades long favor granted us by G-d in love, and based upon nothing we did to deserve it. The other point to be made is that we oftentimes suffer for reasons beyond our ken; yet we think we're wiser yet than G-d, and that we should decide how we're to live life.

So we're encouraged to appreciate all we have, life included. And to thank G-d for it all. We'll explore the multitude of favors we enjoy in more depth in later chapters.

Subscribe to Spiritual Excellence and receive the class via e-mail.


 

ARTICLES ON TERUMAH:

View Complete List

Upside Down
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Part God, Part Us
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

In Rich Concentration
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

ArtScroll

Who Goes Hither, Freind or Foe
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

The Symbol of the Tabernacle
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Elevating the Physical
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Asking the Impossible
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

We Should Take A Lesson From G-d
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Are We Men, Or Are We Angels
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

> A Special Collection for the Sockets?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

The Power of Unity
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

In Memory of Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Where Heaven Meets Earth
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

The True T'rumah
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Guaranteed Dividends
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

It's the Thought That Counts
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759



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