C hapter S ixteen
Mesillat Yesharim ‫־‬ C hapter 25

In Mesillat Yesharim chapter 25, he writes how to acquire a
high level of fear of Hashem. The way to acquire this awe is to
contemplate two very true things. The first is that the Presence
of Hashem exists in every place in the world and He himself
watches over everything, small or big. Nothing is hidden from
His eyes, neither due to it’s magnitude, nor its lowliness. Rather
every big thing and every small thing, every minor thing and
every major thing. He, without distinction sees and understands.

That is what is written [Yishiah 6:3], “The land is filled with
His glory”, and [Yirmiyahu 23:24] “Surely I fill the heavens and
the earth.” and JTehillim 113] “Who is like Hashem … Who sits
on high and lowers Himself to view the heavens and in the
earth”, and, “Hashem is elevated yet lowers Himself, and is high
from distance of knowledge” ]the former two pesukim that the
Mesillat Yesharim brings are to prove the first principle that His
presence exists in every place, and the latter two pesukim come
to prove the principle that Hashem observes everything in the

When it is clear to a person that wherever he is, he stands
before Hashem’s Holy Presence, then automatically he will have
awe and the fear within him, lest his deeds not be fitting before
the height of His glory. That is what is said Jin the mishna in
massechet Avot – chapter 2: mishna 1], “Know what is above you;
an eye that sees, an ear that listens and all your deeds are in the
book of records”. Since the supervision of Hashem is over
everything, and He sees everything and hears everything, it is
certain that all one’s deeds will make an impression be recorded
in a book – either as a credit or as a debt.

This matter can only be pictured well in a person’s intellect
with regular meditation and serious thought because the matter
is very distant from our senses. The mind can only possibly
imagine it after much contemplation and in-depth thought. Even
after the principles are understood, if one doesn’t constantly
review it, the image will very easily disappear. Just as
contemplation is the way to acquire awe, so too, lack of focus
and deficiency in deep reflection are the main causes of it being
lost, whether it be due to worry or purposely done. Any ceasing
of concentration in this matter will put an end to any incessant

This is what The Holy One Blessed Be He told to a king
[Devarim 17:19] “And it should be with him and he should read
from it all the days of his life, so that he learn to fear Hashem.’’
Here we learn that fear is only learnt from reading without
break. Notice that it says, “So that he learns to fear…” and not,
“So that he will fear…” because this fear is not within the
sensations of nature, in fact it is quite the opposite and very far
from it. The senses are physical, and this awe of Hashem is only
acquired through unceasing study, and great diligence in Torah
and it’s ways.

A person must ponder and think deeply about this matter.
Hashem’s presence is in every place and he literally stands
before Him at every moment and at every time. Then a person
will truly fear Him. This is what David Hamelech prayed for.
75C lo seness to Hashem
“Hashem, teach me your ways, I will go in your truth with my
heart to fear your name.”

The words of the Mesillat Yesharim in chapter 25 quoted
above, are fundamental principles which have the power to
bring a person to high and great spiritual levels. Fortunate is the
one who is able to, without promises or commitments, learn this
chapter of Mesillat Yesharim every day. It is certain that this will
greatly improve his ways, especially if he will understand this
chapter well. [See the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 214, where he
writes about getting oneself used to a good habit. One should
say before he begins that it is all without promises. He explains
that apart from saying that it is without any promises, he should
also detail that he is not committing himself to it, see well all
the words inside the text itself. For reasons for this see the
Levush and the Aruch Hashulchan there, what they write at
length about this topic, in Nedarim 15. There is no place here to
bring the whole discussion.)

The essence of the words of the Mesillat Yesharim brought
here is, in short, a) two principles; the first being that a person is
always standing before his Creator, and the second, that every
detail of his actions and business is supervised at every moment
by the Creator of the world, whether it be a good deed or
Hashem forbid the opposite. All his affairs in their every detail
will receive reckoning.