[Among the fundamentals of repentance]: (13) The regarding of the lesser transgressions as severe ones, such as gazing at women or over-engaging in conversation with them, idle talk, idling, or mentioning G-d's name in vain. All of these and many others like these, which are considered minor in the eyes of many – even in the eyes of the great men of this generation--all of these should be regarded by the penitent as extremely severe, for four reasons: First, one should consider not the smallness of the transgression, but the greatness of Him who warned against it. This is an analogous to a king's commanding two of his subjects – – one to bring him something to drink to slake his great thirst, and the other to do something that he is not greatly in need of, exhorting each one upon his life to fulfill his respective task. It goes without saying that either of them who transgressed would incur the death penalty – – the stealer of one dinar being hanged just as one who has stolen a thousand dinars, each one having transgressed the king's command. So, in respect to all of the Torah, we have been commanded [this verse]: "Observe all the mitzvah that I command you today," and (ibid:26): "Cursed is he who does not fulfill the words of this Torah to do them." Second, if one commits a minor transgression many times it comes to be regarded as major, the punishment accumulating for each violation. Third, when one is accustomed to certain transgressions, he comes to see them as permissible and does not guard against them, then he comes to be numbered among those who cast from themselves the yoke of Heaven and are considered apostates in a particular respect. Fourth, it is the way of the evil inclination that if it is victorious in a minor matter, it will likewise be victorious in a grave one. Our Sages have, therefore, said (Avos 2:1): "Be as hateful of a lesser mitzvah as of a greater one," and (ibid.4:2): "For a mitzvah draws a mitzvah in its wake, and a transgression draws a transgression."
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