Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

"The Duties of the Heart"

Gate Five: "Dedicating Our Actions to G-d"

Ch. 6

Dedicating our actions to G-d comes down to making sure that everything we do is done in the service of G-d (see 5:1), including what we think. So we'll explore the implications of that fact then end this chapter with Ibn Pakudah's final points.

First off let it be said outright that all our actions are first cut-to-size, mixed together, stirred, cooked, seasoned, then served-out by our minds beforehand. Not a single thing we do is raw or roughcast. So it behooves us to pay close attention to our thoughts, assumptions, and expectations; for everything we do and say, everything we become, and the very station of our souls depends on them.

But few of us know what we're thinking at any given moment. We may know what we tend to thing about one thing or another, or under certain circumstances; but we're often not aware what we're thinking right now. Indeed, all sorts of ideas -- high and low -- slosh about in our minds all the time, and an array of words spill out of our mouths again and again, without a thought given to what lies behind it all. But if we're ever to achieve true spiritual excellence we'd need to know what we're thinking (and feeling) to determine if it resonates with our spiritual goals or not.

It follows then that we'd first need to learn to "read our own minds", so to speak. Then once we do that and uncover the impetus behind what we do, we'd need to learn how to nourish all that with the kinds of thoughts, aspirations, and dreams that will lead to spiritual excellence.

Ibn Pakudah ends this lengthy chapter (and gate) with the following sage advice: "Don't overlook what I've encouraged you in" here in this chapter, "for while I have gathered together most of the things likely to prevent you from dedicating your actions to G-d, a nearly endless number of offshoots from them. So be as cautious as you can to wholly dedicate your actions to G-d".

"Try as hard as possible to purify your actions ... and see to it that when it comes to Divine service you don't act like the bird who laid an egg, set it down to warm on the ground without paying attention to it, and then saw other animals destroy it before it had a chance to hatch" -- which is to say, do your best but take care not to abandon your efforts in midcourse as so many do.

Ibn Pakudah then ends with the following prayer: "May G-d in His mer us among those He considers upright, who act for the sake of His great name. Amen."


Copyright by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org

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


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

If You Have It, Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

A Little Background Information
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Today's Chanuka Miracle
Rabbi David Begoun - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Shehechiyanu in Bergen Belsen
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

History Reenacted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

A Superficial Light
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

> Estrangement from Siblings - A Kindness?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Yosef's Approach to God-Based Events
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Chanukah Vs. Purim
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Holy Eyes
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Not a Minute Past the Expiration Date
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Miracles of Modesty
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

ArtScroll

Every Little Bit Counts
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5763

Chanukah, Chutzpah, and Coming Close to G-d
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

The Fall of Communism
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Horns and Hedonism
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763



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