Which seforim are the most important for learning emunah?
I would say that besides for the Torah which is the yesod hayesodos, I would suggest first of all the Chovos Halevavos — especially the Sha’ar Habechina. Now, not everybody will agree with me, and some people will say it’s a waste of time, because they think that the Sha’ar Habechina is just a method of proving that there is a Borei, and we don’t need that, they say.
But that’s an error — the Sha’ar Habechina is not made to prove that there is a Borei. It’s made so that you should learn to feel, to be margish, the presence of the Borei. Like Moshe Rabbeinu — Moshe Rabeinu didn’t need any proofs that Hashem existed! He had spoken to Hashem many times and he knew very well that Hashem existed. And yet, he said, הראני נא את כבודך– “Hashem, show me Your Glory.” Because it’s never enough; you can never see Hashem enough! To come closer and closer to seeing Hashem, that’s the desire of our neshama. Because in the World to Come, that’s the great happiness: צדיקים יושבים…ונהנים מזיו השכינה, they look at the Shechina; that’s their heart’s desire.
And so, when people look in the world and on all sides they see evidence of Hashem’s greatness; on all sides they witness His chesed, His kindliness, so they’re becoming greater and greater. Walk into a fruit store, and you see beautiful red apples; each one is a work of art, and your heart melts within you to see such beautiful products — beautiful oranges, beautiful grapes. And you know that each one has seeds inside. אשר זרעו בו – they’re like coupons. Once you’re finished the fruit, there’s a coupon inside. If you spit it out it will cause once more the plant to grow again and give you more fruit. And you see the miracles of plan and purpose;.you see the Hand of Hashem. There’s no question that the Shaar Habechina, in my mind, is one of the biggest preparations for living a successful life.
However, among other important seforim, I would suggest Mesillas Yesharim. It’s a sefer written by an acharon, but the Vilna Gaon said that he read through the first eleven perakim and that every word is precious. He said that if the Mesillas Yesharim were alive, he would walk across Europe to go to him to make him his rebbi.
Sha’arei Teshuva of Rabbeinu Yonah is also one of the great sources of avodas Hashem. The Rambam Hilchos Dei’os and Hilchos Teshuva, and part of Hilchos Yesodei Hatorah also. It’s very easy language to read, but the words of the Rambam are extremely profound.
All these seforim contain a world of knowledge. Now, I’m not saying that these are the only ones; there are other seforim in addition to these, but for people who are ambitious to grow great in da’as Hashem, I would recommend that they should be familiar with these seforim that I mentioned.
TAPE # 928