Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Duties of the Heart

Introduction (Part 4)

Continuing to wonder why a book dedicated to explicating the inner, heart-based mitzvot hadn't been written before he set out to write “The Duties of the Heart”, Ibn Pakudah thought that it was because there really weren't many heart-based mitzvot.

But he discovered that while there’s a finite number of physical mitzvot (613, in fact), there’s a near infinite number of heart-based ones, when you consider how capable they are of coloring and infusing nearly *everything* we do.

He then wondered if perhaps everyone was already *so* aware of and so committed to fulfilling these mitzvot that it was simply unnecessary to lay them out in book form.

But to his dismay he knew (just as most of us know, and only too well) that the great preponderance of people simply don't strive for spiritual excellence. And that when they *do* do the sorts of things that benefit us all, they often do it for self-serving ends--perhaps to appear intelligent, caring, or pious to others, etc.

Such individuals not only do the right thing for the wrong reasons, they also bypass the need to concentrate on certain fundamentals of the faith we'll be touching on later.

And they include: faith in G-d's Oneness; whether we’re supposed to delve into the import and implications of it on our own, or whether it’s enough to depend upon the tradition for that; and whether we’re supposed to say "G-d is One" the way most people do, without really knowing what they’re saying, or whether we’re to research the matter on our own.

Many sages, though, have dedicated the requisite time and energy needed to dwell on these points, as well as other duties of the heart. In fact, the story’s told of a certain sage who would only associate with others until midday, when he’d seclude himself and say, "Bring on the hidden light!", referring to the duties of the heart.

And it’s them that we should emulate.

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


 

ARTICLES ON VAESCHANAN AND TU BEAV:

View Complete List

Living Proof
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Consolation? Where?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Humble, Yet Proud
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Mountain of Faith
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Do Not Enter
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Starting With the Best Materials
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

ArtScroll

Ahavas Hashem: For the Love of G-d
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Shema Yisrael
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

How Wise We Would Be
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

> No Disappointments
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Pleading In Comfort
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Why Should I Just Believe?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Yearning for Eretz Yirsroel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

How Can We Be Comforted?
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Judaism 101
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757



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