Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Slow Reading of The Introduction to "The Path of the Just" (Part 16)


-- Ramchal ends his all-important introduction thusly. I'll add this short prayer to his own, at the end: May G-d also grant us the fortitude to live by the words of this holy sefer and to grow close to Him as a consequence.

"Indeed, all of these principals require great explanation. I have found that our sages (of blessed memory) have ordered these principles in a different, more particularized way -- according to the levels required to aspire to, and in their correct order. This is in a beraitha found in various places in the Talmud, including the chapter entitled 'Before Their Festivals' (Avoda Zorah 20B), and it reads: 'From this Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yaer derived that Torah study brings you to caution, caution to enthusiasm, enthusiasm to innocence, innocence to abstinence, abstinence to purity, purity to piety, piety to modesty, modesty to fear of sin, fear of sin to holiness, holiness to holy spirit, and holy spirit brings you to the resurrection of the dead'."

"I have based this book upon that beraitha to teach myself and to remind others of the necessary conditions in Divine service in the appropriate order. And I will explain in each section the particulars and gradations, the means to attain them, as well as their respective deterrents, and how to avoid those."

"Now I and whomever else may care to do so can read this book so that we might learn how to revere G-d our L-rd and not forget our duties to Him. And that which the coarseness of our natures tries to remove from our hearts will be brought back to us by the reading and studying of this work which will remind us of our obligations."

"May G-d be with our hopes and keep us from stumbling, and fulfill within us the desire of the poet who was the beloved of his G-d: (Psalms 86:1) 'Teach me, G-d, Your ways so that I may walk in Your truth. Unify my heart that I may revere Your name.' Amen, may it be His will."

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