This also a person must resolve in his heart, to fulfil the instruction of our Rabbis, of blessed memory: "And be humble of spirit before all men." This you must be in true sincerity, in the presence of any individual, even in the presence of the most worthless of worthless men. This accords with the instruction of our Sages: "Judge not thy fellow until thou art come to his place." For it is his "place" that causes him to sin, because his livelihood requires him to go to the market for the whole day and to be one of those who "Sit at the [street] corners," where his eyes behold all the temptations; the eye sees and the heart desires, and his evil nature is kindled like a baker's red-hot oven, as is written in Hosea: "It burneth as a flaming fire... ."

It is different, however, with him who goes but little to the market place, and who remains in his house for the greater part of the day; or even if he spends the whole day in the market but is possibly not so passionate by nature— for the evil inclination of all people is not the same: there is one whose nature,. . . as is explained elsewhere.

In truth, however, even he whose nature is extremely passionate and whose livelihood obliges him to sit all day at the [street] corners, has no excuse whatever for his sins, and he is termed an utter evildoer (rasha gamur) because there is no dread of G‑d before his eyes. For he should have controlled himself and restrained the impulse of his desire in his heart because of the fear of G‑d Who sees all actions, as has been explained above, for the mind has supremacy over the heart by nature.

It is indeed a great and fierce struggle to break one's passion, which burns like a fiery flame, through fear of G‑d; it is like an actual test. Therefore, each person according to his place and rank in the service of G‑d must weigh and examine his position as to whether he is serving G‑d in a manner commensurate with the dimensions of such a fierce battle and test— in the realm of "do good," as, for example, in the service of prayer with kavanah (devotion), pouring out his soul before G‑d with his entire strength, to the point of exhaustion of the soul, while waging war against his body and animal soul within it which impede his devotion, a strenuous war to beat and grind them like dust, each day before the morning and evening prayers. Also during prayer he needs to exert himself, with the exertion of the spirit and of the flesh, as will be explained later at length.

Any one who has not reached this standard of waging such strenuous war against his body, has not yet measured up to the quality and dimension of the war waged by one's evil nature which burns like a fiery flame, that it be humbled and broken by dread of G‑d.

So, too, in the matter of grace after meals, and all benedictions, whether those connected with the partaking of food or with the performance of precepts, [to be recited] with kavanah, to say nothing of the kavanah of precepts "For their own sake." So, too, in the matter of one's occupation in the study of the Torah, to learn much more than his innate or accustomed desire, and inclination, by virtue of a strenuous struggle with his body. For to study a fraction more than is one's wont is but a small tussle which neither parallels nor bears comparison with the war of one's evil impulse burning like fire; he is called utterly wicked (rasha gamur) if he does not conquer his impulse so that it be subdued and crushed before G‑d.

For, what difference is there between the category of "Turn away from evil" and that of "Do good"? Both are the command of the Holy King, the One and Only, blessed be He.

So, too, with the other commandments, especially in matters involving money, as the service of charity (tzedakah) and the like.

Even in the category of "Turn away from evil" every intelligent person can discover within himself that he does not turn aside from evil completely and in every respect where a hard battle at a level such as described above is called for, or even on a lesser level than the aforementioned : for example, to stop in the middle of a pleasant gossip, or in the middle of a tale discrediting his fellow, even though it be a very small slur, and even though it be true, and even when the purpose is to exonerate oneself— as is known from what Rabbi Simeon said to his father, our saintly teacher: "I did not write it, but Judah the tailor wrote it," when his father replied, "Keep away from slander." (Note there, in the Gemara, beginning of ch. 10 of Bava Batra.)

The same applies to very many similar things which occur frequently, especially with regard to sanctifying oneself in permissible things, an enactment based on the Biblical text, "Ye shall be holy,..." and "Sanctify yourselves, therefore...." Moreover, "Rabbinic enactments are even stricter than Biblical enactments," and so forth. But all these and similar ones are of the sins which a person tramples under-foot and has come to regard as permissible in consequence of repeated transgression, and so on.

In truth however, if he is a scholar and upholds the Law of G‑d and wishes to be close to G‑d, his sin is very great and his guilt is increased manifold in that he does not wage war and does not overcome his impulse in a manner commensurate with the quality and nature of the intense battle mentioned above, than the guilt of the most worthless of worthless men of the corner-squatters who are removed from G‑d and His Torah, whose guilt is not as heinous— in not restraining their impulse which burns like a fiery flame by means of the dread of G‑d, Who knows and sees all their deeds— as the guilt of the person who is ever so close to G‑d, His Torah and His service. As the Rabbis, of blessed memory, said about "Acher": "For he knew My glory... ." Therefore the Rabbis declared in regard to the illiterate that "Deliberate infringements [of the Law] are regarded, in their case, as inadvertent acts."