Monday, October 31, 2005

R' Ashlag Ch. 34

... can be found at ...

Toras Rav Ashlag

Sunday, October 30, 2005

"The Great Redemption" (28)

... can be found at ...

Toras Ramchal

Thursday, October 27, 2005

R' Ashlag Ch. 33

... has been completed and can be found at ...

Toras Rav Ashlag

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

How To Fear And Revere G-d

-- This is the whole of the 25th chapter of "The Path of the Just" (Messilat Yesharim). It's not well known, probably because it's near the end and it's my sense that most readers are so (mistakenly) overwhelmed by the book that they never get all that far in it. In any event,to my mind this is the best statement of the why's and wherefore's of Yirat Hashem. I present it as something to ruminate about in your Yom Kippur preparations.
-- May the Ribbono Shel Olam grant us all a G'mar Chassima Tova; we'll meet again after Yom Tov (if not sooner) ...

"The only way to acquire this sort of fear is to contemplate two truisms: that G-d's Presence is found everywhere, and that He involves Himself in everything, great and small.

"Nothing is hidden from Him, either because of its vastness or its insignificance. Whether a thing is great or small, scant or imposing, He constantly sees and understands it. This is what the Torah refers to when it says, (Isaiah 6:3) "The whole world is full of His Glory"; (Jeremiah 23:24) "Do I not fill heaven and earth?"; (Psalms 113:5-6) "Who is like G-d our G-d, who dwells on high -- who lowers Himself to look upon the heavens and the earth?"; and, (Ibid. 138:6) "Though G-d is high up, He nonetheless notices the lowly ..."

"When it will become clear to you that wherever you are, you are standing before the Divine Presence, you will arrive at the fear and dread of stumbling in actions that would not be fitting before G-d's profound Glory. This is what is indicated by the teaching, (Avot 2:1) "Know what is above you -- a seeing eye, a hearing ear -- and that all of your actions are recorded in a book." Since the Holy One (blessed be He) involves Himself in everything, and He sees and hears everything, you can be sure of the fact that all actions make an impression and are recorded in a book for merit or blame.

"But this only touches you personally if you constantly reflect upon and observe it. This sort of thing is beyond our ordinary perceptions, and the mind can only grasp it after much meditation and contemplation. And even after it will have made an impression, that impression will be easily lost if you do not constantly work at it. Just as a lot of contemplation is the only way to attain constant fear of heaven, diversion of attention (either purposeful, or because of external interference) or lack of concentration is the way to lose it. And all diversion of attention is a taking away from the state of constant fear of heaven.

"This is why the Holy One (blessed be He) commanded all kings of Israel (Deuteronomy 17:19) to have the Torah "with him and to read it all the days of his life so that he might learn to fear G-d his G-d." This comes to teach that fear of heaven can only be learned with constant study. A careful analysis of the verse further indicates that it reads, "so that he might *learn* to fear G-d his G-d" rather than, "so that he might fear G-d his G-d." That is so because the fear of heaven does not come naturally.

"In fact, it is very unnatural to us, because of the limited, this-worldly nature of our senses. It only comes to us with study. And the only kind of study that brings it to us is constant diligence in Torah and its path, which involves reflecting and meditating upon this at all times -- when you are relaxing, traveling, lying down, and awakening."

The veracity of this -- that the Divine Presence is everpresent, and that we stand before G-d each and every moment -- must be set in your mind. Only then can you truly fear and revere G-d. King David would pray for this and say, (Psalms 86:11) "Teach me Your ways, G-d, so that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart so that I might fear Your Name."

Translation (c) 1996 Yaakov Feldman

Monday, October 10, 2005

"The Great Redemption" (27)

... can be found at ...

Toras Ramchal

Sunday, October 02, 2005

"The Gates of Repentance" continued

I began offering parts of "The Gates of Repentance"'s Gate Three here and continued here