4. On Mitzvot


11 Iyar 5781

Expanding further on Mesillas Yesharim we reach paragraph 11 of Chapter One. R. Luzzatto states that one should understand that the purpose of one’s creation is not one’s role in this world. The first argument is that sickness and death are inevitable. They are, and we keep trying to forget about what we know is certain. It will happen in any case, sooner or later. Yet, I believe we should do what is in our power make them come as late as we reasonably can. They happen because of the will of Hashem. Yet we should not just embrace nihilism and think that nothing is worth doing, since it will end in death. Is life just a thin immaterial surface between the before and the after? Whatever the reader may think, one should, in my opinion, do the best that one cans.

In the next paragraph, R. Luzzatto writes that if someone’s purpose were one’s position in this world, then one would not have a soul that is not even satisfied by earthly pleasures and needs a reward that is not of this earth. This is of great significance and not everyone is prepared to face this reality. There are some people for whom the truth is too strong. They have been accustomed to thinking about this world and the sudden realisation that everything is transitory can be too much for them. I believe some things must be taught gradually.

Rabbi Luzzatto then states, in paragraph 13, that understanding these concepts will cause one to understand how serious and important the mitzvot are. Again I say that not everyone is ready to face the gravity of the mitzvot. There are some, Heaven forbid, that take the mitzvot lightly. It must be tragic to suddenly be aware that what one thought was of no consequence is instead very serious. Nonetheless, Heaven allows one to make teshuvah and, in this way, atone for what one may have done wrong.

Dr. D Cohen