7. Vigilance


30 Sivan 5781

Hodesh tov!

Today we start Chapter 2 of Mesillas Yesharim, a chapter called “The Virtue of Vigilance”. R. Luzzatto begins by stating that the concept of vigilance refers to being careful about one’s actions. One should think about one’s actions and whether they are good or not. R. Luzzatto mentions being vigilant about one’s habits and not repeat them without thinking about them. Examining one’s habits is very important. Repetition leads to inattention and carelessness. One can begin to take things for granted and not be thankful everyday for one’s blessings.

In the second paragraph R. Luzzatto states that paying attention would actually be common sense. Somebody who has minimal understanding should try to save himself and not lose his soul. R. Luzzatto asserts also that someone who closes his eyes to his own salvation is inferior to the animals that instinctively protect themselves. Here I would like to stress that “inferior” should be interpreted as “inferior in intelligence and reason,” not as in “baser.” Man is superior to beast and animals have been created for man, but sometimes people can behave worse than they do. One should also not forget that we have been created with reason and our reason can be seen like a weapon, it can be used for extreme good but also for extreme evil. One must, as R. Luzzatto says, pay attention to one’s actions and to one’s habits.

Let us also remember, like R. Luzzatto previously said, that what we do can also give an example. We should not forget that even a small mistake on our part can have a ripple effect. The more we try to be proper, the more people will look at us and one tiny action can take many out of the path, Heaven forbid.

opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

Dr D Cohen