Messilat Yesharim – The Track of the Upright

 

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(by the Ramchal, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato)

 

The title of the Ramchal’s book is taken from Mishley, Proverbs 16: 17 –

‘Track of Upright, leave evil protects one’s soul, forms one’s path.’

This book summarizes the Components of the complete Service of Hashem, as –

1.Awe, 2.Going in His Ways (Integrity of Perfecting Virtues), 3.Love of Hashem and Gratifying Him, 4.Wholeness of Heart, that the service of Hashem is with purity of intention, and 5.Keeping all the mitzvoth, commandments, being the means of the Service.

The root of wholeness of service – Authentic Piety – is that it should be clear and verified to a person what one’s duty is in the world, and why one needs to focus and direct everything one strives for one’s entire life.  The means to attaining our purpose are the commandments, the mitzvoth; and the place we can do them is only in this world – i.e. this world enables us to do them.  The basis of the Track is that verse in Dvarim, Deuteronomy 10: 12 –

And now, Israel, what does Hashem your God ask of you but to [have] awe of Hashem your God, to walk in all of His ways, and to [have] love of Him and to serve Hashem your God with all of your heart ad all of your soul.

And, the actual path, the ‘Terms of Service’ being the Track, is comprised of twelve steps or levels:

Torah leads to Carefulness (the mitzvoth of omission, or negative commandments), which leads to Agility (the action mitzvoth, or positive commandments), then Cleanness, Abstinence, Purity (of heart and thought), Piety, Humility, Sin-Fearingness, Holiness, the Holy Spirit (above natural law), and Resurrection of the Dead (like Eliyahu and Elisha the Prophets).

Actions of the Crown

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Man is suitable to [act] in likeness of his Maker,

and then he will be [included] in the secret of the higher form, tzelem [image] and character.

Whereas if he is similar in his body but not in actions, then he disappoints the likeness…

Therefore it is right to [act] in likeness to the actions of the Keter (Crown),

which are the 13 Virtues of Higher Compassion as hinted in the secret of the verses (Micha 7: 18-20)…

(The opening of the Ramak’s (Rabbi Moshe Cordova) Tomer Devorah, Deborah’s Palm)

Simcha Taken to a Higher Level

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Rebbe Nachman wrote that there is no such thing as despair – things can always change, and even completely turn around, in a moment!

He also brought simcha, joy and happiness, to a higher level where he wrote that it is a great mitzvah to be happy always, and that all illnesses stem from lost or spoiled joy

(Likutei Moharan, part II, section 24).

Narrow Bridge

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(Gan HaGoren, Yavniel)

Rebbe Nachman wrote:

“Know, that one must go over a very very narrow bridge,

and the rule and main point is not to be afraid at all”

(Likutei Moharan part II, section 48).

 

That is, the physical world completely mislead us, and, thus, spiritually, is a place of danger.  The only thing that saves us from it is our “narrow bridge” which is that aggregate of all the tools we have and which we work to instill in us: Emunah, Talmud Torah, Mitzvot, Hitbodedut, simcha, etc.

But we shouldn’t be afraid even though (by nature of a “very very narrow bridge”) we often stumble and fall off.

A Person’s Obligation to Carry Out [in Action] One’s Part in Torah

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Words of Instruction of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ztz”l –

 

“There are issues that the great [Torah scholars] of the generation keep quiet about, and do not react to,

this is not always proof that one is not supposed to do anything about [these issues],

and find accounts and arguments to avoid [these issues].

One must know that if s/he sees her/himself capable of doing something about the discussed, [then] one needs to do so,

and the fact that those greater than her/himself do not say a word is possibly in order ‘for Pinchas to take the Kehuna [priesthood]’ as it is written in the Midrash…”

 

(the translated Likutei Sichot, part 2, parashat Pinchas – brought in the Rav Moshe Chaim Armoni’s Bati L’Armoni: Derushim on the Parshot By Way of the PaRDe”S, parshat Pinchas, p. 273)

The Real Dimension & Meaning

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(sidewalk art in Yavniel)

“Know, that one must always focus on the inner intelligence of every matter, and bind himself to the wisdom and inner intelligence that is to be found in each thing.  This, so that the intelligence which is in each thing may enlighten him, that he may draw closer to God through that thing.  For the inner intelligence is a great light that shines for a person in all his ways.”

***

(From The Writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev [Likutei Moharan] part 1, section 1

&

quoted in my book Disillusions: A Spiritual GPS For the Journeyer & The Real New World Order)

For All Am Yisrael

The following snippets are taken from the book by the great kabbalist, “Ba’al HaSulam” Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Ashlag z”l in its section “The Introduction to the Book of The Zohar”:

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Understand the dryness and darkness that we find in our generation that we have never heard of before in all previous generations, and this is because even the ovdai Hashem (the servants of Hashem) have renounced from looking into the secrets of the Torah (section 57).

I know the main reason is because faith has diminished in general, and faith in kedushei elyon the sages of the generations…and thus I felt compelled to do a biyur (clarification/explanation)… in order to enable all the masses of Beit Yisrael to learn the Book of the Zohar (section 58).

And here we found that those familiar with the holy Book of the Zohar, that is, those who understand what is written in it, agree unanimously that this holy Book of the Zohar is authored by the Tanna HaEloki, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.  Except for those far from this wisdom, among those who doubt this yichus, and tend to say, according to false tales, from those who oppose this wisdom, that its author is the kabbalist Rabbi Moshe De Leon, or others who are closer to his time (section 59).

Before these last two thousand years, which are Yamot Mashiach (per Tractate Sanhedrin 97a), the wisdom of the Zohar in general and the wisdom of Kabbalah in particular, were hidden from the world, except for the time of the Ari…and except for a small number of special individuals, who were not given permission [from above] to reveal it to the world.  And now in our generation, after we are already so close to the end of the last two thousand years, therefore permission [from above] has been given now to reveal [Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s] words and the words of the Zohar to the world (section 61).

Woe to those people who cause the spirit of Mashiach to depart and to go from the world…and do not want to try to understand the wisdom of Kabbalah, and to know and become educated in the secrets of the Torah and Ta’amei Mitzvot…Woe to those who cause by these actions of theirs there to be poverty and the sword and Hamas (theft) and plunder and killings and devastation in the world (section 70).

All those engaged in Torah who disrespect their penimiyut, and the Penimiyut of the Torah [Kabbalah], and leave it…amplify their chitzoniyut (outwardness), being the benefit of the body, and thus the outwardness of the Torah (section 71).

The Uniqueness of Our Generation

The following is taken from the book Matan Torah by the great kabbalist, “Ba’al HaSulam” Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Ashlag z”l:

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Complete devekut (cleaving) and complete hassaga (comprehension) has 125 general levels.  It is impossible to attain all 125 levels before the Messiah comes…

The exception is Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his generation who wrote the Zohar.  They merited all 125 levels completely even before yamot Mashiach (our generation being before the coming of the Messiah)…

The Zohar made such a strong impact on the world because the secrets it contains include all 125 levels.

The Zohar says that it (the Zohar) will not be revealed until the end of days, that is, until the time of the Messiah…

The fact that the Zohar has been revealed in our generation is clear proof that we are already in the Messianic era and at the beginning of the generation wherein “the entire land is filled with knowledge of God” (Isaiah).

[Article “On Conclusion of the Zohar”]

One Was Abraham

 

The following is found on the single page entitled “Omission” that is just between Parts I and II of Likutei Moharan, the Writings of Rebbe Nachman.

“Echad Haya Avraham”, One Was Abraham, is part of the verse in Ezekiel 33: 24.

And these 3 words have become a Chassidic “mantra” – they are the essence of Judaism.

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One was Abraham – that Abraham served Hashem only by that he was one, and thought in his mind that he was the only one in the world, and did not look at all on the people of the world, who turn away from Hashem and obstruct him, and not on his father and the other obstructers, only as if he is the only one in the world, and that is [the explanation of]: One Was Abraham.  And such is for all who want to enter into the Service of Hashem, it is impossible to enter except by way of this concept that one should think that there is no one in the world but he singularly alone in the world, and not look at any person who obstructs him, such as his father and mother or his father-in-law and his wife and children, and so on, or the obstacles that are from the rest of the world, who make fun of him and incite him and obstruct from the Service of Hashem.  And he needs to not sense and look at them at all, [rather] only be as the concept: One Was Abraham – as if it is just he in the world as mentioned above.