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The Path of the Just

Ch. 2 (Part 2)

We’d need to be on top of a number of things if we’re ever to be “cautious” as we’re first advised to be, in the process of drawing close to G-d. For one thing, each one of us would have to be “conscious and aware of whether his actions” and the sorts of methods he uses to do things “are for the good or not” -- that is, whether they’re for the good of our spiritual standing or bad for it.

Of course, this harkens back to the idea we’d cited that, unlike Adam and Eve before their fatal error, we’re forced to rely on our rational minds, and we have to be attentive and alert in order to avoid sin. So it would do us well to first ponder and weigh, and then do -- with fresh dedication.

Ramchal’s contention is that if a person isn’t aware of what he’s doing and how he does things that he’d be “abandoning his soul to the threat of destruction” and could be said to be “going about blindly … in pitch black”, since he’d be depending on habit or circumstance rather than on insight and clarity.

In fact, he continues, it would only make sense to do whatever we can to “rescue ourselves” from spiritual harm and self-sabotage “by running away from what would destroy our soul”. After all, don’t “animals and beasts just naturally watch out for themselves by fleeing from things that are likely to threaten them”? So, should we do no less ourselves if our spiritual well-being is threatened?

The answer of course is that we’d be foolish to go through life without giving thought to whether what we’re doing is right or wrong if our whole raison d’être is to be the best people we can be so as to draw close to G- d, as He wants us to. But the truth is that like the people in the prophet Jeremiah’s time, “each one of (us) turns about in his course like a horse rushing headlong into battle" (Jeremiah 8:6) without giving thought to the consequences of our actions.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 

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