Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Connection is the Goal, Mitzvos are the Path

In the beginning of Mesillas Yesharim the Ramchal writes: When you look further into the matter, you will see that only connection with God constitutes true perfection, as King David said (Psalms 73:28), “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good,” and (Psalms 27:4), “I asked one thing from God; that will […]

Getting Better Mileage From Our Mitzvah Observance

Rabbi Yitzchok Kirzner zt”l used to tell a story of an observant Jew who was not motivated to grow further. He told Rabbi Kirzner that he was in the top 10% in terms of observance, and when the other 90% of Jewry caught up, he would go further. The Mesillas Yesharim in the chapter on […]

Steven Covey’s 7 Habits and Mesillas Yesharim

One of my favorite secular books is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. (Covey passed away on July 16, 2012 at the age of 79) Covey says he studied the wisdom literature to write this book. The book was recommended to me by 3 mussar-oriented friends at about the same time, […]

Getting Back on Track to Torah Based Happiness

I’m trying to write a short essay explaining Torah Judaism to interest people to learn more about Judaism. In the latest draft, I’ve written the following opening paragraph: Many people realize that true happiness requires that a person lead a meaningful life of self-actualization and giving to people, community and the greater good. Torah Judaism […]

Did You Do a Cheshbon HaNefesh Today?

I’ve been learning Bilvavi recently, and Rav Shwartz has a slightly different understanding of the path proscribed by Mesillas Yesharim then the conventional Yeshiva understanding. We’ll G-d willing discuss the differences in a later post, but today let’s take a look at a practical problem we hit early in the Mesillas Yesharim. In Chapter 3, […]

Becoming a Better Jew

For some of us, learning Mesillas Yesharim can a be a challenge. The Ramchal is talking about reaching very high levels of Piety and Kedushah, and many of us feel we’re not in a position to reach those levels. We’re focused on consolidating the progress we’ve already made. We might get discouraged and say that […]

Rational Hedonism – The Jewish Answer To “Why Are We Here?”

Rabbi Dovid Schwartz of the Jewish Heritage Center (and Beyond BT contributor and commenter) recently gave a shiur on the “Man’s Duty in This World” chapter that we are currently learning in Mesillas Yesharim. One thing is for certain, this isn’t your zaidey’s Mussar Schmuz. Rabbi Schwartz turns some of our assumptions about Judaism on […]

Torah Leads to Watchfulness

Mesillas Yesharim is structured around R. Pinchas ben Yair beraisa which states: Torah leads to Watchfulness; Watchfulness leads to Zeal; Zeal leads to Cleanliness; Cleanliness leads to Separation; Separation leads to Purity; Purity leads to Saintliness; Saintliness leads to Humility; Humility leads to Fear of Sin; Fear of Sin leads to Holiness; Holiness leads to […]

Mesillas Yesharim – Chapter 1 – Concerning Man’s Duty in the World

The foundation of Saintliness and the root of perfection in the service of God lies in a man’s coming to see clearly and to recognize as a truth the nature of his duty in the world and the end towards which he should direct his vision and his aspiration in all of his labors all […]

Approaching Mesillas Yesharim

Approaching Mesillas Yesharim can be a daunting task. The Ramchal is talking about reaching very high levels and most of us are still in the starting gate. The Ramchal was a master of systemization and in Mesillas Yesharim he presents a path to reach the highest levels a person can reach in this world. It’s […]

Mesillas Yesharim Introduction – What Does Hashem Request of You?

In the second half of the introduction, the Ramchal brings down the posuk upon which the Mesillas Yesharim is based: This is what Moshe Rabbeinu, may peace be upon him, teaches us when he says (Devarim 10:12), “Yet now, Israel, what does the Eternal, your God, request of you? Only to fear the Eternal, your […]

Perfection as a Torah Value – Mesillas Yesharim Continued

I received an email yesterday morning which made me feel so proud to be a member of the Torah Observant community. I had written to R’ Yaakov Feldheim of Feldheim Publishers telling him about Beyond BT and asking for permission to post the English translation of Mesillas Yesharim, as we learn it here together. Yesterday […]

Mesillas Yesharim – Author’s Introduction – MP3 – Summary

As we mentioned last week, we are learning together the mussar classic Mesillas Yesharim by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal) in memory of Sarah Bas Reb Eliezer Kops. We’ll be spending 3-5 weeks on each chapter and we are currently in the Author’s introduction. Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum, one of the best speakers in Kew […]

Learn Mesillas Yesharim With Us

We’re starting a new project at Beyond BT. We’ll be learning Mesillas Yesharim by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (Ramchal) together. We’re going to go at a slow pace and we’ll supplement the text with posts, audios and of course comments. Whether you’ve already learned Mesillas Yesharim or not, why not take advantage of this great […]

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