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2.4. Elevating the Mundane
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Sources refer to the Ramchal’s Derech Hashem. —————————————– A person’s condition in this world depends on a combination of internal and external factors. [I, 4.1] Upon birth, a human being is almost completely physical in nature, as the intellect exerts only a negligible influence. As a person matures, the influence of his intellect grows to […]
2.3. Life and Afterlife
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Sources refer to the Ramchal’s Derech Hashem. —————————————– As we have said, only man has been placed on the crossroads of perfection and imperfection with the ability to choose his own path. This choice must be made of a person’s own free will. If God were to compel a person on the path of goodness, […]
2.2. Why Are We Here?
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Sources refer to the Ramchal’s Derech Hashem. —————————————– Since God is perfect and His existence requires nothing else, why did He create the universe? This was so that He could bestow His goodness on others. God is the ultimate good. His wisdom decreed that this be expressed by allowing created beings to get close to […]
2.1. God
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With this entry, The God Papers begins with the Ramchal’s classic work Derech Hashem. Source notes refer to that sefer. ————————————————- Every Jew must strive to know that there’s a God, who created everything. God has no beginning and He will have no end. He brought everything else into existence and He sustains it all. […]
63. The Highest Form of Perfection
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The Hebrew word “chachma” (generally translated as “wisdom”) can mean four different things, and the Rambam provides a few examples of each. [III, 54] (1) It can mean knowledge of truths that bring us to knowledge of God (as in Job 28:12 and Proverbs 2:4); this is how we use it most often. (2) It […]
62. What are Kindness, Righteousness and Judgment?
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Before proceeding to the conclusion, the Rambam tells us that the meanings of three terms must be clarified: chesed (kindness), tzedaka (righteousness), and mishpat (judgment). [III, 53] Chesed is the act of extending a great amount of kindness. In Tanach, it generally refers to showing kindness to those who have done nothing to deserve it. […]
61. Acquiring Awe of God
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We do not sit, speak or act the same when we are alone or with members of our families as we do when we are in the presence of important people. Therefore, if a person truly wants to perfect himself and get closer to God, it behooves him to remember that we are always in […]
60. Nearness to God and End of Life
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The Rambam cites unnamed philosophers who explained that a person cannot perfect himself spiritually in his youth because the young are too heavily controlled by their passions. One whose passions are hot cannot achieve the purity of thought necessary to acquire an intense love of God. [III, 51] As a person grows older, his lusts […]
59. How the Spiritually-Perfected Become Vulnerable
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Having described in great detail how one can get close to God, an idea occurs to the Rambam, which he feels answers a philosophical difficulty that may bother some people. [III, 51] He previously discussed how human beings enjoy individual providence, but not all to the same degree. Rather, the closer a person is to […]
58. Getting Close to God
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Working towards his conclusion, the Rambam presents an analogy [III, 51]: Imagine, if you will, a king in his palace. Some of his subjects are at home in their own land, while others are abroad. Of those who are in their own kingdom, some happen to be facing the palace, while others are facing away […]