Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Duties of the Heart

Gate Eight: "The Gate of Introspection"
Ch. 1

Let's start off by defining introspection more thoroughly.

Ibn Pakudah depicts it as "the act of contemplating your material and Torah-based circumstances" i.e., your worldly and spiritual standing identify what you've already done and what you still have to do".

That's to say that we're to begin by surveying our inner and outer situations dispassionately and impartially; and then we're to speculate about all the consequences of what we've done, and about what they imply about the future.

Suppose I notice that I'm selfish, for example (and believe me, we *all* are to some degree). Then I observe just how much that trait has interfered with my religious life as well as my relationship with others. If I were fortunate, I'd then realize that that doesn't bode well for my spiritual standing, and that I'd hardly likely grow if I continue being selfish. I'd then want to take steps to be less self-centered.

Ibn Pakudah then provides us with a number of verses meant to inspire us and shore up our resolve. The most cogent among them seems to be this one: "Don't be like an ignorant horse or mule" (Psalms 32:9), which is to say that we're not to just trudge ahead without thinking.

But the one that goes deeper to the core, it seems, is this: "Taste and see that G-d is good" (Psalms 34:9). Because it seems to set out to remi G-d is good to us all, despite our errors and notwithstanding all our false starts. But how can we come to realize that? By "tasting and seeing" (i.e., experiencing and noting) G-d's goodness in our lives, which we can also only come to by being introspective, and catching sight of G-d's presence in the course of each day.


Text Copyright 2004 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Don't Doubt My G-d
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Of Threads and Shoelaces
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Reward May Come
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Wandering Jew
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

The Deeds of the Patriachs
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Reaching for Perfection
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

> "Steps" in the Right Direction
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

The Internal Journey
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Learning How To Walk
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

ArtScroll

You Shall Live by Them
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Every Drop Matters
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

The Mind
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Wake-Up Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Cloudy Vision
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 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