There are many ways of profaning the Name, and one must be constantly mindful of the glory of his Creator. In whatever one does, he must be alert and careful that it does not produce anything which could be a profanation of the glory of Heaven. We have learned, “Whoever profanes the mane of Heaven in secret will be punished openly. It makes no difference whether the Name was profaned unwittingly or intentionally.” When the sages asked for an example of profaning the Name, Rav said, “If a man of my reputation should buy meat without paying for it immediately.” Rabbi Jonahan said, “If a man of my reputation should walk a distance of four amot without meditating on the Torah or without terfillin.” Every man, according to his status and how he is looked upon by his contemporaries, must be careful not to do anything which is improper for a man of his standing. — from Chap. 11, Mesillat Yesharim
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707–1746) was an Italian Jewish rabbi whose study of the Kabbalah formed his philosophical views. He was a controversial figure who claimed to have been given “divine lessons” from a mystical being known as a maggid. Many of his writings were eventually suppressed during his life; only after promising not to teach mysticism was he able to rejuvenate his reputation — and then only partially. To continue his studies of the Kabbalah unhindered, Luzzatto moved to the more liberal Amsterdam. It was here that he wrote Messillat Yesharim (1740), his ethical treatise and handbook for personal sanctity with mystical undertones.