The Path of the Just
Ch. 2 (Part 3)
By Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Most of us today are rather pleased to be busy and take pride in how much
we can juggle. In fact the sort of adrenaline rush that comes with
managing to double-, triple-, and quadruple-task that we strive for today
is a sort of modern seventh-heaven. Some even encourage that, offering
that being busy allows you to forget about your troubles and to lose
yourself to the task at hand.
That would be fine if we’d fulfill our life’s mission by forgetting
ourselves and if our sense of what’s expected of us didn’t matter, or if
we were only granted life so as to be productive. But Ramchal, like the
great preponderance of the sages, doesn’t think that’s true at all. As
we’d depicted it before, he contends that we’re expected to change
ourselves for the better and to amend the world. And that sometimes calls
for quieting down and dwelling on the basics.
For as he words it, “relentlessly burdening yourself with tasks so that
you haven't the time to reflect upon or consider where you’re heading”
which so many of us are guilty of,” is in fact one of the devices and
guiles of the yetzer harah” rather than a good thing.
Interestingly enough, though, he adds the insight that the yetzer harah
knows that ”if you were to concentrate upon your (wrongful) ways for just
an instant that you would certainly repent of them, and a strong regret
would grow within you that would lead you to utterly abandon your sins”.
That means to say that just given the chance to slow down, to dwell upon
self, and to refocus upon goals would automatically have us turn a new
leaf and improve ourselves.
Because deep within our beings is a draw to G-d that cannot be denied, but
which is covered-over by this, that, and so much else that vies for our
attention, and distracts the soul from the task at hand.
So the only way you can escape from all that would be to foster the trait
of caution, by setting aside time to reflect upon yourself and your ways.
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org