The Duties of the Heart
Gate Ten: "Loving G-d Wholeheartedly”
Ch. 7 (Part 1)
We come close now to the end of this gate and to our study of "The Duties
of the Heart". And there's no better way than to depict the demeanor of
those who do indeed love G-d, heart and soul.
As Ibn Pakudah portrays it, those who love Him to that extent "know their
G–d and realize that He's pleased with them, that He guides, directs and
sustains them, and that He controls and is in charge of everything". It's
also clear to them that "all their activities and movements depend on G-
d's decree and will, so they no longer prefer one thing to another and
they trust instead that He'll choose the best and most appropriate course
These great and lofty souls want nothing better than to "please Him with
all their heart and mind, and they stop yearning for things of the world
and its boastings" and "they look instead, both wholeheartedly and with
the full force of their souls, for help and courage from G–d to keep their
thoughts fixed on His service."
They likewise "praise and thank G–d for all their accomplishments .... But
when their plans to do good don't come to fruition because of
circumstances, they absolve themselves from them before G–d and decide to
do them when they can, and they await the time G-d will prepare for them
(to do them in fact)" -- unlike those of us who brood when our plans fall
through and our best of intentions are waylaid.
Those who truly love G-d "forsake worldly affairs and the more rank
concerns of their bodies ... , and only involve themselves in them when
they have to" and they "apply their souls and hearts to Torah study and to
the service of G–d in order to honor and aggrandize Him instead, and in
order to observe His mitzvot."
How do such individuals appear to others? Are they otherworldly and odd
looking? Not at all, we're told. "They may seem shy" at first, because
they're more contemplative and focused than most of us, "(but) if you were
to speak to them they'd prove to be sages. For they'd know the answer to
whatever you might ask them", since they commune with G-d. And "you'd find
them to be uncomfortable with and baffled by worldly matters, since their
hearts are full of the love of G–d and they want none of the things others
desire", but they'd certainly be welcoming and lucid.
There's even more to be said about them, though.
Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org