The famous ethics work of the Ramchal, Mesilat Yesharim starts off the first chapter:

"The foundation of piety and the root of flawless service [of G-d] is for a man to clarify and come to realize as truth what is his obligation (chovato) in his world and to what he needs to direct his gaze and his aspiration in all that he toils all the days of his life"

and likewise in chapter 4

But that which, in particular, brings one to watchfulness is contemplation on the severity of the service which a man is obligated in and the depth of judgment incurred for it.

What is this "obligation" the Ramchal is referring to? Is it a moral duty such as gratitude to God or is it something else.

Looking for a source from other works of the Ramchal which explains this more.

  • he donesn't give a posuk מה ה' שואל מעמך כי אם....???
    – kouty
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 21:52
  • Do you mean to ask "what is the Source of this obligation"? Because the whole first chapter is dedicated to developing the nature of the obligation, beginning directly after the words you quoted.
    – Chaim
    Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 22:58

1 Answer 1


Ramchal in his commentary on the mishna in avot, 'do not become haughty if u have learned much torah for it is what you were created for', states that this (to be haughty) would be like a bird boasting because it could fly, whereas it should accept I was gifted with wings therefore I fly. On this commentary, I would like to suggest that the Chiyuv is different for every Jew. It is his obligation to find his own tikkun and to find worthy friends and rabbonim to guide him. Kgon; some are skilled in business and should take the zevulun ( I think ) side of the Zevulun Yissachar bargain. Some are more gifted in war and should become soldiers, some are gifted in comedy and should raise their brothers spirits vchule vchule. all Should live inside halacha but should find their particular skills within that boundary.

  • 1
    I don't necessarily disagree with your answer; I'm just looking for sources for it besides "Based on this I'd like to suggest."
    – DonielF
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 11:46
  • @yonatanhakatan DonielF is correct. You need to flesh out your 'suggestions' with sources that point to this idea. The idea that Ramchal is not just saying 'obligation', but 'ones obligation' is a very relevant point. The avodah is personal. But you need to source that aspect. Bracha v'hatzlacha... Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 17:56
  • "Ramchal in his commentary on the mishna in avot" - what book is this?
    – michael
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 6:30

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