R' Salanter once again underscores the point that we're to always remember
to at least observe those mitzvahs that are easy enough to keep at the
moment and to avoid the sins that are easy enough to shun at that point, if
This is especially true when it comes to those mitzvahs and sins touching
upon our character traits and the things required of us to be law-abiding,
moral citizens. While its more difficult to be successful in that realm --
because of all of our hidden motivations and the befuddling number and
strength of conflicting commitments -- nonetheless the best way to overcome
those sorts of sins is to always keep our "natural love of righteousness and
our hate for (moral) distortions" in mind.
For who among us doesn't indeed admire goodness and honesty, even if we
ourselves don't always live up to our own visions of it? The gist of the
matter is that we're to always keep our inner sense of right and wrong
well-tuned and at the forefront, and to strive to live up to them. The other
point is to always strive to know our own hearts and to own up to our
failings and successes.
For at bottom, R' Salanter asserts, mitzvahs touching on our character
traits are in fact chukim (i.e., essentially inexplicable and mysterious, as
cited earlier in this letter). And they should be taken as seriously as
other such mitzvahs.
This completes our series. May the many merits of R' Salanter stand in our
favor for having studied his work, and may we witness the arrival of the
Moshiach in our time as a consequence.