A verse in Mishlei (2:13) talks about those who “forsake the paths of the just to go upon the roads of darkness”. We can learn an important principle from this. There is a great difference between a path and a road. While a road is large and more of a general place, a path is smaller and more personal. Perhaps the verse is telling us that the way to righteousness is by taking “paths,” since these are smaller, more individualized routes. Conversely, the general ‘roads’ are more open, and not specific in their direction. Therefore, they can easily lead one to get lost, as he continues further into darkness.
This teaches us that when one wishes to succeed in his pursuit of serving Hashem through the duties of the mind, it is imperative for him to choose ‘small paths’; to find small accomplishments towards this goal. However, when one’s service of Hashem becomes too generalized, it will become more difficult for him to succeed.
Thus, as Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l had taught, while one walks down the street he should take a mere thirty seconds out of his life to think about the “Eyes” of Hashem that are lovingly and caringly looking down upon him. Additionally, let him say to himself, that until the next stop sign, he will spend time thinking about just one specific chessed that Hashem does for him. Or, as he passes a house, he can offer a blessing of success upon the people who live there. Another form of serving Him is to take a few moments at any time throughout the day to give a prayer to Hashem in his own words. The list is just about endless.
Indeed, these small sparks of achievement may go a very long way.
By Rabbi Usher Smith. The Sefer “Passion for Perfection” by this author, is now available in Hebrew bookstores or directly from the distributor, at zbermanbooks.com.