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).

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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.”

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(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)