The Duties of the Heart
Gate Eight: "The Gate of Introspection"
What are we to do after having dwelt upon all we have in this chapter? Are
we just to go about our business and find another "project" to busy
ourselves with? Are we to just begin again from the beginning (after all,
weren't we told to ponder what we'd come upon in this chapter "deeply and
repeatedly" [8:3 Part 9])? Or is there yet another factor to consider?
The two best things to do after engaging in introspection clearly and
intelligently, we're told, is to understand what we're meant to accomplish
by it, and to dedicate ourselves to G–d in the process. That's to say, to
always remind ourselves to practice introspection consciously and
purposefully rather by rote and to emphasise our relationship with G-d.
For when you do, we're all promised, G-d will help you fulfill His
mitzvot, and He'll also "teach you by the light of wisdom and enlighten
you with the radiance of reason". As a result "you'll enjoy serenity and
your mind will be free of the world's anxieties and attractions. You'll
rejoice in the service of the Creator and delight in the fact that you
peered into some of wisdom's mysteries in all their brilliance."
And you'll be counted among those who "fulfill the duties of the heart and
the physical duties easily, eagerly and enthusiastically", who "have come
upon wisdom" and "act righteously all the time". Ibn Pakudah then
concludes this chapter with the plea that "G–d in His compassion place us
in their midst, and include us in their category".
Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org