The Path of the Just:
Chapter 21 (Part 3)
What really prevents us from being pious, Ramchal offers, are all our
“preoccupations and worries”. After all, don’t we spend an awful lot of time
dreading growing old when we’re young, while brooding over being so young;
being preoccupied with making a good living when we’re establishing
ourselves, while being overwrought with too much work; yearning to be
renowned and sought after when we’re striving higher, while treasuring our
solitude, and so much more?
Ramchal contends that each of those thoughts and hungers robs us of our
time, gnaws away at our being, and distracts us from the soul’s need to draw
close to G-d Almighty.
For “when the mind is preoccupied by and stews in its worries and external
concerns,” he reiterates, “it becomes impossible for it to reflect”; and if
you can’t do that, then “you’ll never come to be pious”.
In fact, such ruminations not only prevent you from becoming pious, they can
even undo your piety after the fact or stunt it, and they can prevent you
from “growing in your reverence, love and the other things having to do with
For these kinds of thoughts “which flirt with the heart and draw it after
themselves rather than to anything relevant to abstinence and true
knowledge” are anathema to our dreams of spiritual excellence and are
certainly to be shunned.