Friday, November 27, 2009

אָבַד חָסִיד מִן הָאָרֶץ, וְיָשָׁר בָּאָדָם אָיִן

My Father in Law

הרב החסיד יוסף שלום בן הרב שמחה יעקב הלוי מארקוויטש זכרונו לברכה

was niftar yesterday, the 9th of Kislev.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Be Exceedingly, Exceedingly Humble - An Insight In The Torah's Understanding Of Human Nature.

In a private communication with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, we touched on Rambam in Hilchot De’ot that deals with Anavah, the virtue of humbleness or humility. I decided to interrupt the current discussion to address this, as it is very important and also is relevant to the subject that I am dealing with.

Rambam in Hilchot De’ot 1:10-11 –

ט כל אדם שדעותיו כולן דעות בינונייות ממוצעות, נקרא חכם; [ה] ומי שהוא מדקדק על עצמו ביותר ויתרחק מדעה בינונית מעט לצד זה או לצד זה, נקרא חסיד.
י כיצד: מי שיתרחק מגובה הלב עד הקצה האחרון, ויהיה שפל רוח ביותר--נקרא חסיד; וזו היא מידת חסידות. ואם נתרחק עד האמצע בלבד, ויהיה עניו--נקרא חכם; וזו היא מידת חכמה. ועל דרך זו, שאר כל הדעות.

Whoever observes in his disposition the mean is termed wise. Whoever is particularly scrupulous and deviates somewhat from the exact mean in disposition, in one direction or the other is called a Chassid. For example, if one avoids haughtiness to the utmost extent and is exceedingly humble, he is termed a Chassid, and this is the standard of Chassidus. If one only departs from haughtiness as far as the mean, and is humble, he is called wise, and this is the standard of wisdom. And so it is with all other dispositions. (Translation, courtesy of A Maimonides Reader by Isadore Twersky).

Rambam explains that a Chassid is one who is working on himself to improve his Midot [disposition] while a Chacham is one who has perfected himself to the point that he can be exactly on the mean and needs no further improvement. The Chacham is therefore the paradigm of perfection.

ומצווין אנו ללכת בדרכים אלו הבינוניים, והם הדרכים הטובים והישרים, שנאמר "והלכת, בדרכיו

“We are commanded to follow these middle paths as they are good and correct [and also the paths of God] as it says “and you should walk in His paths”.

As an example of a Chassid Rambam portrays someone who “is exceedingly humble” and a Chacham as “one who only departs from haughtiness as far as the mean, and is humble”. The clear implication is that humility is the preferred disposition and “exceedingly humble” is perfection in the making.However, in the second chapter of Hilchot De’ot Rambam presents a different picture.

ויש דעות שאסור לו לאדם לנהוג בהן בבינונית, אלא יתרחק עד הקצה האחר--והוא גובה הלב, שאין הדרך הטובה שיהיה האדם עניו בלבד, אלא שיהיה שפל רוח, ותהיה רוחו נמוכה למאוד. ולפיכך נאמר במשה רבנו "עניו מאוד" (במדבר יב,ג), ולא נאמר עניו בלבד. ולפיכך ציוו חכמים, מאוד מאוד הוי שפל רוח.

There are some dispositions in regard to which it is forbidden merely to keep to the middle path. They must be shunned to the extreme. Such a disposition is pride. The right way in this regard is not merely to be meek, but to be humble-minded and lowly of the spirit to the utmost. And therefore, it is said of Moshe that he was “exceedingly humble”. Hence our sages exhorted us, “Be exceedingly, exceedingly lowly of spirit”.” (Translation as above)

The contradiction is glaring and it is obvious that Rambam is not in the habit of contradicting himself. However, as usual, Rambam is very subtle and one has to read thoroughly all his discussions on a subject in its various contexts. In his introduction to Avot, the Eight Chapters, Rambam has a lengthy discussion about perfecting one’s disposition. In the fourth chapter, he discusses the idea of how to go about changing an inborn disposition. While he summarized in Hilchot De’ot, he expands this discussion in the Eight Chapters. In chapter 4 he describes the process of changing the natural disposition of individuals by moving away from the mean in the opposite direction of one’s natural disposition. For example, one whose natural disposition tends towards haughtiness should be scrupulous and be extremely humble for a while until he can slowly move back to the mean of humility. The same goes for all dispositions. At the end of a lengthy discussion, Rambam then makes a few revealing statements.

וזאת התורה השלמה המשלמת אותנו, כמו שהעיד עליה יודעה:
תורת ה' תמימה, משיבת נפש,
עדות ה' נאמנה מחכימת פתי (תהלים י"ט, ח')
לא ציוותה דבר מעין זה. ואין כונתה אלא שיהיה האדם טבעי, הולך בדרך האמצעי:
יאכל מה שיש לו לאכול בשווי,
וישתה מה שיש לו לשתות בשווי.
ויישב המדינות ביושר ובאמונה.
לא שישכון במערות ובהרים,
ולא שילבש השער והצמר,
ולא שיטריח גופו ויענה אותו.

“And this perfect Torah whose mission is to perfect us as one who knew her [David] testified,” God’s Torah is whole, it soothes the soul, God’s testament is reliable, it enlightens a fool”, did not command any of this [self-flagellation]. Its mission is for a person to be natural and follow the mean path; eat and drink a balanced diet and inhabit lands with correctness and honesty. Not that he should in mountainous caves or wear hair shirts or punish his body.”

In other words, the Torah’s goal is to develop people so that they become perfect and follow the middle path. That is however a utopian goal. The human condition will not allow such perfection. As the Torah deals with real human beings and is the tool that will bring people as close to perfection as possible, its laws are NOT the mean. They are always a little to one side or the other depending on the disposition.

וזה, שהתורה
לא אסרה מה שאסרה, ולא צוותה מה שצוותה, אלא מפני הסיבה הזאת. רצוני לומר: כדי
שנתרחק מן הצד האחד יותר על דרך ההרגל. שכן איסור "המאכלות האסורים" כולם, ואיסור
הביאות האסורות, והאזהרה מן הקדשה, וחיוב כתובה וקידושין, ועם כל זה לא תהיה מותרת תמיד, אלא תיאסר בעתות הנידה והלידה, ועם זה סייגו חכמינו למעט התשמיש, והזהירו מזה ביום, כמו שבארנו בסנהדרין - הנה לא צווה אלוהים אלא כדי שנתרחק מקצה "רוב התאווה" ריחוק רב, ונצא מעט מן המיצוע אל צד "העדר הרגשת ההנאה", עד שתתיישב בנפשותינו תכונת הזהירות

The law did not lay down its prohibitions or enjoin its commandments except for just this purpose, namely, that by its disciplinary effects we may persistently maintain the proper distance from either extreme. For the restriction regarding all the forbidden foods, the prohibitions of illicit intercourse, the forewarning against prostitution, the duty of performing the legal marriage rites – which nevertheless does not permit intercourse at all times, as, for instance, during the period of menstruation and after childbirth, besides its being otherwise restricted by our sages and entirely interdicted during the daytime, as we have explained in the tractate of Sanhedrin- all of these God commanded in order that we should keep entirely distant from the extreme of inordinate indulgence of the passions, and, even departing from the exact medium, should incline somewhat toward self-denial, so that there may be firmly rooted in our souls the disposition for moderation.”

The Torah is not for the perfect utopian individual but rather for the human being who is working his way towards perfection. It is realistic about human frailties and allows for them setting the rules with that in mind. These rules are a little off the mean, tending a little to one or the other side depending on the type of disposition and the tendency of the majority of humanity towards that disposition. In the case of haughtiness, even a perfected person such as Moshe Rabbeinu cannot feel safe and must be exceedingly humble to counteract the human tendency to self-aggrandizement. A similar disposition is anger where too the human disposition tends towards it and that tendency has to be counterbalanced. Rambam in the first chapter of Hilchot De’ot describes the utopian perfected human being the Torah’s has as a goal to develop. In Chapter 2, he explains the method the Torah uses and points out that certain human traits can never be completely overcome. Haughtiness and anger are two such traits where even the most perfected person must be wary about recidivism.

It is important to note that to Rambam, a person that follows the Torah and does the Mitzvot is embarked on the path to perfection; he is on the right track in his quest for the perfect disposition, a necessary and integral ingredient in the search for God and His ways.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Does a Non-philosophical Person Gain Rights to the World To Come (Olam Haba)? Ethics and Morality in Judaism (Part 4 in a series)

Ethics and Morality are accepted norms in civilized societies. Much has been written about ethics all the way back to the Greek Philosophers and it is still a much-discussed topic in philosophy. For an excellent overview, see here . Rambam has what I believe to be a unique understanding of ethics from a Torah perspective. In MN 3:27, one of the introductory chapters to his discussion of Ta’amei Hamitzvot, he addresses what the goal of Mitzvot is.

“The Law as a whole aims at two things: the welfare of the soul and the welfare of the body. As to the welfare of the soul, it consists in the multitude’s acquiring correct opinions corresponding to their respective capacity… As for the welfare of the body, it comes about by the improvement of their ways of living one with another. This is achieved through two things. One of them is their abolition of wronging each other. This is tantamount to every individual among the people not being permitted to act according to his will and up to the limit of his power, but being forced to do what is useful to the whole. The second thing consists in the acquisition by every human individual of moral qualities that are useful for life in society so that the affairs of the city may be ordered.” (MN3:27)

Focusing first on the second aim, the welfare of the body, the description seems to be of a utilitarian system which promotes a healthy and well-ordered society. In this presentation, ethics and morality are seen as self-serving quid pro quo systems thus resulting in every member of that society living in peace with each other. In other words, ethics are ultimately self-serving. By being good to your neighbor, you can expect reciprocity. But Rambam does not stop there. The goal of an ordered society has a much loftier purpose than mere egotistical interest. It is to allow for the flourishing within it of perfect people, those who are concerned with the welfare of their soul.

His [man’s] ultimate perfection is to become rational in actu, I mean to have an intellect in-actu; this would consist in him knowing everything concerning all the beings that it is within the capacity of man to know in accordance with his ultimate perfection. It is clear that to this ultimate perfection, there do not belong either actions or moral qualities and that it consists only of opinions toward which speculation has led and that investigation has rendered compulsory. It is also clear that this noble and ultimate perfection can only be achieved after the first perfection [ethics] has been achieved. For a man cannot represent to himself an intelligible even when taught to understand and all the more cannot become aware of it of his own accord, if he is in pain or is very hungry or is thirsty or is hot or is very cold. But once the first perfection has been achieved it is possible to achieve the ultimate, which is indubitably nobler and is the only cause of permanent preservation [after death – Olam Haba – DG].” (MN3:27)

Rambam’s ethics, though at first directed towards developing a well-ordered society, have as their ultimate goal to allow for the development of the perfect human being. That is a knowledgeable person who can focus on his own self-improvement, the acquisition of knowledge and thus get to know all creation and through it God. Once a person gets to know all he can about God and His ways, he understands and wants to emulate Him by partaking in His actions.

“The object of the above passage is therefore to declare, that the perfection, in which man can truly glory, is attained by him when he has acquired--as far as this is possible for man--the knowledge of God, the knowledge of His Providence, and of the manner in which it influences His creatures in their production and continued existence. Having acquired the knowledge he will then be determined always to seek loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, and thus to imitate the ways of God. We have explained this many times in this treatise.” (MN 3:54)

The ethics of the perfected man take on a completely new aspect. They no longer are self-serving, insuring a well-ordered society so that he can dedicate himself to contemplation, but rather understanding God’s ways, emulating Him and partaking in His work. Thus the same ethical act, the same Mitzvah, is performed in different contexts by different people, depending on their level of sophistication. We will return to this important point later in the discussion, but what is important now is to understand that Rambam’s ethics have an ultimate goal that goes beyond the egotistical. Giving alms to a pauper will have different meaning to different people. Some will do it because they see themselves in the same spot and want to be treated similarly hoping that others will emulate them should they be in need, while others do it because it makes them feel good to help another. Some feel guilty having so much while another lacks everything. Others do it because their religion promises good things in exchange. Rambam’s Jew does it because it is part of the process that is necessary to allow for the development of a person that knows God, who will then do the same act with the understanding and deep knowledge that giving this Tzedakah IS emulating Him. In Rambam’s Judaism, everything we do is with that goal in mind.

“What I have here pointed out to you is the object of all our religious acts. For by [carrying out] all the details of the prescribed practices, and repeating them continually, some excellent men may attain human perfection. They will be filled with respect and reverence towards God and know who it is that is with them, and as a result act subsequently as they ought to. He [God] has explained that the end of the actions prescribed by the whole Law is to bring about the passion of which it is correct to be brought about, as we have demonstrated in this chapter for the benefit of those who know the true realities. I refer to the fear of Him and the awe before his commands.” (MN 3:52)

As this last quote indicates, all Mitzvot have the same objective. I have focused first on ethical Mitzvot because they are easier to contrast with general ethics but the same goal is for all Mitzvot. All have the ultimate objective to bring us to know God to the best of each one’s ability. I think that we can start getting a glimpse of why Mitzvot are Truth and doing them is doing Truth. I will however flesh these concepts out further in upcoming posts.

I would like to end this post by pointing out that in the first quote from MN3:27, indeed in that whole chapter Rambam omits any mention of personal self-improvement other than in a societal context. Anyone who reads Rambam knows that one of the important traits needed for a correct understanding of God and His ways, is perfected Midot. Someone who is steeped in material needs and urges cannot acquire true knowledge according to Rambam. He makes that clear right in the second chapter of the Moreh.

“You appear to have studied the matter superficially, and nevertheless you imagine that you can understand a book which has been the guide of past and present generations, when you for a moment withdraw from your lusts and appetites, and glance over its contents as if you were reading a historical work or some poetical composition.” (MN1:2)

What happened to that whole segment of Mitzvot that deal with self-improvement to allow for apprehending correct notions?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Does a Non-philosophical Person Gain Rights to the World To Come (Olam Haba)? (Part 3 in a series)

At the end of the first four chapters in Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah where Rambam give a concise summary of Physics and Metaphysics from a Jewish theological perspective, he legislates –

ואני אומר שאין ראוי להיטייל בפרדס, אלא מי שנתמלא כרסו לחם ובשר; ולחם ובשר זה, הוא לידע ביאור האסור והמותר וכיוצא בהן משאר המצוות. ואף על פי שדברים אלו, דבר קטן קראו אותם חכמים, שהרי אמרו חכמים דבר גדול מעשה מרכבה, ודבר קטן הוויה דאביי ורבא; אף על פי כן, ראויין הן להקדימן: שהן מיישבין דעתו של אדם תחילה, ועוד שהן הטובה הגדולה שהשפיע הקדוש ברוך הוא ליישוב העולם הזה, כדי לנחול חיי העולם הבא. ואפשר שיידעם הכול--גדול וקטן, איש ואישה, בעל לב רחב ובעל לב קצר.

And I say that one should not promenade in the Pardes only once one has filled his stomach with meat and bread. Meat and bread is a metaphor for knowing the clarification of what is forbidden and permissible and other such matters about the other [in addition to the five discussed here earlier] Mitzvot. Although the sages refer to these matters as a small thing, for the sages said “great matter is the workings of the chariot” and a small matter is the discussion of Abaye and Rava, they still should come first. They settle a persons mind and additionally they are the great good that HKBH bestowed to the inhabitants of this world, for them to inherit Olam Haba. All, adult and child, man and woman [note: woman too], a person with a broad mind or one with a limited one, can know it.

I have discussed this Halacha in the context of the preceding ones here . In the context of the current discussion, I would like to focus in on Rambam’s ontological explanation of “what is forbidden and permissible and other such matters about the other Mitzvot”. From a human perspective, they are “meat and bread” but from an ontological one they are “the great good that HKBH bestowed to the inhabitants of this world, for them to inherit Olam Haba.” The placement of this Halacha is quite interesting too, at the end of the first chapters of MT that deal with Mitzvot that are intellectual rather than practical and presents as an introduction and transition to the practical Mitzvot that follow in the rest of MT. It says that knowing how to do the Mitzvot well [clarification of what is forbidden and permissible] (and I assume doing them), can be accomplished by all [adult and child, man and woman] thus, they all will inherit Olam Haba. Again, we see Rambam clearly telling us that Olam Haba is not dependent on intellectual apprehensions but rather a result of keeping the practical Mitzvot. There is however a caveat, not here but in Hilchot Teshuvah, where Rambam conditions proper actions on correct ideas. In Chapter 3 he discusses the process of divine judgment, Halachot that I find very difficult to understand though I hope to one day, and after a lengthy detailed exposition, he ends as follows: (Translation courtesy of Jonathan Baker. The translation is not ideal but will have to do for my purpose here).

שכל ישראל יש להן חלק לעולם הבא, אף על פי שחטאו--שנאמר "ועמך כולם צדיקים, לעולם יירשו ארץ" (ישעיהו ס,כא); ארץ זו משל--כלומר ארץ החיים, והוא העולם הבא. וכן חסידי אומות העולם, יש להן חלק לעולם הבא.

For every Jew has a share in the World to Come even if he sinned, for it is written, "Your people also shall be righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever". The word `land' here refers to the Land Of Life, namely the World to Come. Similarly, pious gentiles also have a share in the World to Come.

Thus, even those that divine justice found guilty and therefore do not expect longevity in this physical world, do retain a part in Olam Haba as long as they are not one of those enumerated in the next Halacha.

יד [ו] ואלו שאין להן חלק לעולם הבא, אלא נכרתין ואובדין, ונידונין על גודל רשעם וחטאתם, לעולם ולעולמי עולמים: המינים, והאפיקורוסים, והכופרים בתורה, והכופרים בתחיית המתים, והכופרים בביאת הגואל, והמשומדים, ומחטיאי הרבים, והפורשים מדרכי ציבור, והעושה עבירות ביד רמה בפרהסיה כיהויקים, והמוסרים, ומטילי אימה על הציבור שלא לשם שמיים, ושופכי דמים, ובעלי לשון הרע, והמושך עורלתו.

The following types of people have no share in the World to Come, and are cut off, destroyed and excommunicated for ever on account of their very great sins and wickedness. An infidel; a heretic; one who denies the Torah; one who denies that there will be a Resurrection; one who denies that there will be a Redemption; one who converts from Judaism; one who causes a lot of people to sin; one who withdraws from communal ways; one who publicly sins in a defiant way like Yehoyakim did; an informer [against Jews]; one who instills fear in the congregation but not in the Name of God; a murderer; one who relates lashon Harah; and one who pulls back his foreskin [in order to cover his brit Mila].

It would be interesting to analyze in detail the commonality, if there is one, of those listed as forfeiting their Olam Haba. However looking at the list we get a clear sense that they relate to incorrect ideas about either God, society or the Jewish people. The striking thing however is the presentation. Rambam, basing himself mainly on the Mishna in Sanhedrin, does not say that one who believes in x, y and z will attain Olam Haba. The presentation takes a negative stance. One who has incorrect ideas whose actions under regular circumstances would be seen as righteous in the eyes of the divine judgment, is now found wanting. That again confirms that the Mitzvah act itself, as long is it is not based on an incorrect notion, is enough to warrant Olam Haba.

To understand the relationship of doing a Mitzvah with Olam Haba, we must first discuss the different categories of Mitzvot and their goal, how and why ethical and moral Mitzvot are different from general ethics and morality and finally the relationship of Olam Haba and our own physical existence. As you can see, this subject is far from exhausted and I plan to develop these ideas.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Does a Non-philosophical Person Gain Rights to the World To Come (Olam Haba)? Obsessive Love (Part 2 in a series)

I ended the previous and first post in this series asking what worshipping for the sake of love means. Rambam in Sefer Hamitzvot Asseh 3 lists a specific Mitzvah, a commandment, to love God. How can one be commanded to love? Love is a natural emotion? How can love be induced?

המצווה השלישית
היא הציווי שנצטווינו על אהבתו יתעלה
שנתבונן ונסתכל במצוותיו ופעולתיו, כדי שנשיגהו ונתענג בהשגתו תכלית התענוג - וזוהי האהבה המצווה [עלינו].

The third Mitzvah is that we were commanded to love Him. [Meaning] that we should contemplate and look into His commandments and His actions so that we apprehend Him, thus experiencing [lit: enjoying] the ultimate enjoyment through that apprehension of him. That is the love that we were commanded.

And to clarify, Rambam, after citing a series of verses, continues,
הנה ביארנו לך, שבהשתכלות תבוא לידי השגה, וימצא לך תענוג ותבוא האהבה בהכרח.

We have thus clarified to you that apprehension comes through contemplation which in turn affords pleasure which brings about love inevitably.

This Mitzvah requires a systematic process, starting with contemplating God’s commandments and his actions. The apprehension that results from that first step gives one so much pleasure that it inevitably triggers a feeling of love for the source of that pleasure. Once a person experiences the pleasure brought about by the quest for and apprehension of that knowledge, he wants to repeat the experience constantly and becomes obsessed with the quest. This addictive quality of a human being is thus used in a positive way. That resulting obsessive love is described at the end of Hilchot Teshuvah 10:3

ה [ג] וכיצד היא האהבה הראויה: הוא שיאהב את ה' אהבה גדולה יתרה רבה, עזה עד מאוד, עד שתהא נפשו קשורה באהבת ה', ונמצא שוגה בה תמיד--כאלו חולי האהבה, שאין דעתם פנויה מאהבת אותה אישה שהוא שוגה בה תמיד, בין בשוכבו בין בקומו, בין בשעה שהוא אוכל ושותה

And what is the proper love? One should love God with such a very great and extremely intense love to the point that his mind [soul] is bound with the love of God becoming immersed in it at all times. It is like one of those who are lovesick, whose mind cannot free itself from the love of the woman he is immersed in at all times, while at rest and awake, while eating and drinking.

The emotional feeling of love in this process is triggered by a rational experience. The experience of learning and apprehending a difficult and elusive matter produces such intense pleasure that the person wants to continuously experience it and therefore cannot stop thinking about God and the quest for Him. That knowledge however is elusive in our physical existence and becomes a constant quest. At its extreme level, the level of Moshe Rabbeinu, that obsessive quest reaches a point where the mind [soul] wants to free itself from its physical shackles. The Rabbis metaphorically describe this state as “death by kissing” based on Shir Hashirim 1:2, which [Shir Hashirim] is seen as a metaphor for this intense obsessive love of God.

ב יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ, כִּי-טוֹבִים דֹּדֶיךָ מִיָּיִן. 2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth--for thy love is better than wine.

Rambam in MN 3:51 describes this experience by Moshe, Aharon and Miriam.

The more the forces of his body are weakened, and the fire of passion quenched, in the same measure does man's intellect increase in strength and light; his knowledge becomes purer, and he is happy with his knowledge. When this perfect man is stricken in age and is near death, his knowledge mightily increases, his joy in that knowledge grows greater, and his love for the object of his knowledge more intense, and it is in this great delight that the soul separates from the body…. The meaning of this saying is that these three died in the midst of the pleasure derived from the knowledge of God and their great love for Him. When our Sages figuratively call the knowledge of God united with intense love for Him a kiss, they follow the well-known poetical diction, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth" (Song 1:2). This kind of death, which in truth is deliverance from death, has been ascribed by our Sages to none but to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. The other prophets and pious men are beneath that degree: but their knowledge of God is strengthened when death approaches.”

The same pleasure that was so necessary while the person is in his physical state to trigger this obsessive love becomes eternal at death. Of course, we cannot fathom what that experience means, just as we cannot apprehend anything about God’s essence while in this physical existence. This pleasurable experience therefore has two components to it. While in physical existence, it is a necessary tool to help induce this intense and obsessive love of God and the quest for Him. As that experience of intense pleasure becomes eternal at death, it is now no longer a tool but an eternal reward.

In a comment on the earlier post, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks questioned my understanding of what it means to perform a Mitzvah in a “proper and satisfactory” manner. Our goal in our physical existence is to apprehend to the best of our ability as much as we can in our quest for God and His ways. That can only be accomplished through the systematic approach described above which includes the pleasurable experience that comes with apprehension. Our addictive attachment to that pleasurable experience is a necessary step in developing the obsessive love for God and the quest for Him. That same pleasurable experience, once it becomes eternal, is no longer a tool but a resulting reward. Worship that has that eternal pleasurable experience as a goal is not “proper and satisfactory”. That I believe is how one must understand Rambam quoted earlier which is to me, the essence of Judaism.

העובד מאהבה, עוסק בתורה ובמצוות והולך בנתיבות החכמה--לא מפני דבר בעולם, לא מפני
יראת הרעה, ולא כדי לירש הטובה: אלא עושה האמת, מפני שהוא אמת; וסוף הטובה לבוא
A person that worships [God] for the sake of love, is not involved in Torah and Mitzvot nor following the paths of wisdom, because of anything else in the world, not fear of bad things happening nor to gain good things. The only reason he does Truth is that it is Truth. The good things will generally come at the end.

In upcoming posts, I would like to explore the meaning of Mitzvot as Truth.