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3.6 – Introduction to Shaar HaBechinah (The Gate of Examination)
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Sources refer to Rabbi Bachaye ibn Pakuda’s Chovos HaLevavos (Duties of the Heart)  ************************************   God’s kindnesses are universal as Psalms 145:9 tells us, “God is good to all.” Nevertheless, many people are unable to see this for themselves. There are three reasons why people fail to recognize God’s goodness: (1) People are too wrapped […]
3.5 – Conceiving of God
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Sources refer to Rabbi Bachaye ibn Pakuda’s Chovos HaLevavos (Duties of the Heart)  ************************************ Conceiving of God (Chapter 10, part III) Since God is incorporeal, we cannot conceive of Him visually. Therefore, Tanach directs most praise to God’s Name, as in Nehemiah 9:5 (“May they bless the Name of Your glory”), Deuteronomy 28:58 (“To revere […]
3.4 – God’s Attributes
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Sources refer to Rabbi Bachya ibn Pakuda’s Chovos HaLevavos (Duties of the Heart)  ************************************ Attributes of God’s Essence (Chapter 10, part I) The attributes we use to describe God can be divided into those of His essence and those of His deeds. The attributes of God’s essence existed even before He created the universe and they […]
3.3 – God’s Unity
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Sources refer to Rabbi Bachaye ibn Pakuda’s Chovos HaLevavos (Duties of the Heart)  ************************************ The Creator is One (Chapter 7) Having determined that the world must have a Creator, we must now investigate whether He is One. We do this in seven ways. When we examine causes and effects, we observe that the causes are […]
3.2 – Determining That There Is a Creator
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Sources refer to Rabbi Bachaye ibn Pakuda’s Chovos HaLevavos (Duties of the Heart)  ************************************ Three Premises (Chapter 5) It is necessary to accept three premises in order to reach the conclusion that the world has a Creator: A thing cannot create itself; There are a limited number of causes, so there must have been a […]
3.1 – Shaar HaYichud: The Gate of Unity
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Sources refer to Rabbi Bachaye ibn Pakuda’s Chovos HaLevavos (Duties of the Heart)  ************************************ Introduction The most basic, fundamental principle in Judaism is the acknowledgment of God’s unity. This idea is what separates believers from non-believers; it is a non-negotiable concept for a practitioner of Judaism. This is why the first words spoken to the […]
2.17 The Prophecy of Moses
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Sources refer to the Ramchal’s Derech Hashem. —————————————– We have spoken of the full level of prophecy but that really refers to all prophets but one. There was a second, higher level that was only achieved by Moses. The Torah informs us of this when God says, “If there is a prophet among you, I, […]
2.16 False Prophets
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Sources refer to the Ramchal’s Derech Hashem. —————————————– Since there are evil forces, it is possible for one who manipulates them to be misled into thinking that he is experiencing prophecy. These evil forces can provide a person with misinformation; they can even empower him to work wonders. This is why the Torah warns against […]
2.15 How Prophecy is Achieved
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Sources refer to the Ramchal’s Derech Hashem. —————————————– A novice prophet may not have as clear a revelation and he may contribute some elements from his own imagination but when he achieves full prophecy, his enlightenment will be clear and unambiguous. Through this, he will understand the level that he has achieved and that it […]
2.14 Divine Inspiration and Prophecy
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Sources refer to the Ramchal’s Derech Hashem. —————————————– The normal way for a person to acquire knowledge and gain understanding is through his intellect. He observes things and deduces their natures, which may not be readily apparent. But God created another, greater of learning and understanding: through enlightenment that He bestows upon a person who […]