Messilat Yesharim Part 2
By studying Mesillat Yesharim we will be studying what it means to live as a Jew. Mesillat Yesharim is not only a classic because of its content, but it is one of the few books of Jewish thought that has been embraced by all the streams of Jewish practice, and has been endorsed by the Gaon of Vilna as well as Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz whose lectures on Mesillat Yesharim have been published.
Messilat Yesharim Part 2: Lesson 1
Hello- I want to thank everyone who attended the opening shiur of the zman. Today we covered about two-thirds of the fifth chapter of Mesilat Yesharim. In the broader discussion of the trait of “zehirut” (which I think can be translated as “exercising appropriate caution”) Ramchal asks in this chapter why do intelligent people behave without regard for the religious consequences of their acts? Ramchal says there are three causes for such reckless behavior: (a) being preoccupied with work, (b) a tendency to mock anyone who tries to reproach your behavior, and (c) peer pressure. Today we studied causes (a) and (b).Interestingly, Ramchal says cause (a) is easy to overcome while cause (b) is a very difficult habit to break.
Messilat Yesharim Part 2: Lesson 2
Today we finished the 5th chapter of Mesilat Yesharim ( on the importance of knowing how to deal with peer pressure) and we began the sixth chapter (on the necessity to avoid laziness). tangentially we discussed what lessons we can derive from the life and times of the late Mr. Steven Jobs.
Messilat Yesharim Part 2: Lesson 3
Today we studied the sixth and seventh chapters of Mesillat Yesharim. One of the most important ideas that we saw was Ramchal’s insight into our emotional lives. Ramchal says that our feelings can be molded by our behavior. If a person is lazy, he should not excuse himself by saying, “I was born lazy.” Laziness is a character trait but our character traits are not immutable. Ramchal says that laziness can be cured. The lazy person should force himself to (for example) go to minyan, and Ramchal says that after doing this for a while, the lazy person will see that his laziness is gone and he is going to minyan willingly and even enthusiastically.
Messilat Yesharim Part 2: Lesson 5
Today we finished the ninth chapter of Mesillat Yesharim. We discussed the subjects of laziness and the rationalizations that we construct to justify our laziness. We also discussed how to assess a situation and when we may legitimately “stay at home” and we may legitimately rely on Hashem.
Messilat Yesharim Part 2: Lesson 6
Today we began the study of “cleanliness” with the tenth chapter of Mesilat Yesharim. By “cleanliness’ Ramchal means we need to clean ourselves of even the desire for that which is forbidden. Ramchal explains that what leads people to sin is their habit of deluding themselves that what they are doing is “not so terrible” and the only way to stop deluding oneself is to rid himself of the desire for the forbidden object.
Messilat Yesharim Part 2: Lesson 7
Messilat Yesharim Part 2: Lesson 8
Today , instead of studying Mesillat Yesharim I think it would be nice study something about Chanukka. I have chosen two passages fromtwo two different works, one from the writings of Rav Kook zt”l and one from the somewhat lesser-known Chassidic work the Bnei Yissachar zt”l. Rav Kook and the Bnei Yissachar have different and interesting interpretations of the mitzva of ner Chanukka and we will bli neder study them today.;
Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman graduated from Yeshiva University in 1980 and the dental school of Columbia University in 1985. In 1989 he began studying and teaching at Yeshivat Hamivtar and now studies and teaches at Yeshivat Machanaim in Efrat. He has rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.