Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Slow Reading of The Introduction to "The Path of the Just" (Part 11)


"'Reverence' refers to reverence for His exaltedness -- that you be in a state of reverence before Him comparable to what you would experience being before a great and awesome king: that you be abashed before His greatness, and that, as a result of His greatness, you be aware of every move you make before Him -- especially when speaking to Him in prayer or Torah study."

-- We're taught in Ch. 24 of "The Path of the Just" that there are two sorts of fear, actually: the more base "fear of punishment" (in which you're "literally afraid of transgressing the dictates of G-d because of the punishments ... due transgressors", a state that is "very easy to come to, because everybody has an instinct for self-preservation and is concerned for his well-being", but which only befits "illiterates, ... not sages and intellectuals"), and the lofty "fear of or reverence for G-d's Grandeur" (in which "you keep away from transgressions and do not commit them for the sake of G-d's great Glory", which "only comes about through the knowledge and understanding that is brought on by the contemplation of the Grandeur of G-d").
-- Would that we'd be moved to contemplate G-d's Grandeur and thus come to revere Him as we're expected to ... or to at least take His Presence seriously enough to fear His disfavor.

Translation of text (c) 1996 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Original comments (c) 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman