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Messilat Yesharim Chapter One Part Four Print E-mail

RamchalTranscribed by Slavie Friedman: This is what our sages have taught us in the midrash of Koheleth, ‘And the soul will never be filled.’ The midrash explains, ‘What can you compare this verse to? To the case of a commoner who married the daughter of the king. Even if he would bring her everything in the world, they won’t matter to her; she’s the daughter of the king. So to is the soul. This is what Solomon was teaching us in Koheleth. ‘Even if you bring the soul all the physical pleasures in the world, it wouldn’t mean anything to it, in view of its pertaining to the higher elements’. Why? Because the soul comes from the higher world. And so our sages have taught us in the mishna of Perkai Avot, ‘Your body was formed against your will and your soul was placed into it, and you were forced out into this world against your will.’ The neshama does not love this world at all. On the contrary, it despises it. And if this is true, it doesn’t make sense that God would have created something for an end which ran contrary to its nature and which it despised.


The creation of a human being was for his state in Olam Haba. That is why the soul was placed in him. The soul likes to serve God. And it’s through the soul that a person will receive his reward in its place, in Olam Haba, in his time. (This is the wrong translation)- And rather than the world being despicable to the soul, it is to the contrary, to be loved and desired by it. This is self evident.

What he’s saying is: The soul likes to work and the soul, the person, is going to receive reward in his place and in his right time. Because of that, since the soul understands that it’s true state is in Olam Haba, it never looks at Olam Hazeh as anything other than a way of getting to Olam Haba. Therefore, he doesn’t have to hate Olam Hazeh.

If you take a soul and put it in Olam Hazeh, and you say, ‘This is the fulfillment of your creation’, the soul will be miserable. But if you take the soul and say, 'Listen, here’s your vision. Your vision is if you serve and you work on yourself in this place, you will get to Olam Haba, at which  when you can achieve your true potential, meaning attachment to God. The only way to do this is working in Olam Hazeh’, the soul will look at Olam Hazeh as total pleasure. That’s how the soul looks at it. Total pleasure. That’s the difference. If you only have Olam Habah, then you are simply waiting. But Olam Habah is that which allows him to enjoy Olam Hazeh.

Right now my vision is Olam Haba. Because of that,I have to have the Olam Habah pleasure of enjoying everything that I’m doing now.

Now that we know this, we understand the importance of the mitzvos that are imposed on us and the preciousness of the service that is in our hands. Because they are the means that will bring us to the true perfection and without the mitzvot, we cannot achieve them at all. And it is known that the purpose won’t be achieved except through gathering of all the intermediaries and using them. According to the power of the mitzvos  and how we use them, that is what will result for us from them. So the mitzva isn’t guaranteed. It depends on how you use a mitzva.

You will find subtle differences in these intermediaries, these mitzvot,  and you will understand the importance when you see the results in Olam Haba. As I have written; this is self evident.

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