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3.17 Learning to Trust in God
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Shaar HaBitachon Chapter 7 The following things interfere with a person developing his trust in God (in addition to the various impediments mentioned earlier in Chovos HaLevavos): Ignorance of God and His positive traits. If one doesn’t appreciate how God cares for His creations with great compassion, he will lack the confidence necessary to trust in […]
3.16 Those Who Rely Upon God vs. Those Who Don’t
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Shaar HaBitachon Chapter 5 There are seven differences between a person who trusts in God and one who doesn’t. One who trusts in God accepts His judgment in all circumstances and thanks God for the bad as well as for the good, as Job said, “God gives and God takes away; blessed be the Name of […]
3.15 Ways in Which We Rely Upon God
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Shaar HaBitachon Chapter 4 There are seven areas in which a person must rely upon God. These are: In matters of one’s own body; Regarding his ability to earn a living; In interpersonal relationships with family, friends, enemies, and others; Regarding duties of the heart and limbs that only affect the person himself; Regarding duties of […]
3.14 Why Do the Righteous Suffer and the Wicked Prosper?
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Shaar HaBitachon Chapter 3, part II One’s burgeoning trust in God might be shaken by the troubling phenomenon we observe that there are righteous people who work hard to earn a living and who endure suffering while many wicked people prosper and enjoy tranquility. Various prophets addressed this phenomenon; Jeremiah asked directly, “Why does the way […]
3.13 – Acquiring Trust in God
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Chovos HaLevavos, Shaar HaBitachon Chapter 3, part I ***************************** If a person wants to acquire true trust in God, there are certain prerequisites that he must first understand and internalize. The first of these is that he must recognize seven principles vis-à-vis God, namely: God is more merciful towards man than anyone or anything else, as per […]
3.12 – Using All Our Traits in the Service of God
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Chovos HaLevavos, Shaar HaAvodah chapter 10  ************************************ Humans have traits that we consider to be “positive,” like mercy, humility, love and generosity. These have reciprocals that we consider “negative” – in these cases, harshness, pride, hatred and stinginess. All of a person’s traits should be used in the service of God. It’s easy to understand that […]
3.11 – An Illustrative Parable
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Chovos HaLevavos, Shaar HaAvodah chapter 9  ************************************ To illustrate the dynamic between predestination on one hand and reward and punishment on the other, the Chovos HaLevavos presents a parable: Imagine an island with a very unusual law: each year they would appoint a stranger to serve as their ruler. At the end of the year, the […]
3.10 – Predestination vs. Free Will
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Chovos HaLevavos, Shaar HaAvodah chapter 8  ************************************ There are numerous verses that address the issue of God’s control of the world and predestination. Among these: Whatever God desired, He performed, in Heaven and on Earth (Psalms 135:6); God causes death and causes life, He brings down to the grave and raises up. God causes poverty […]
3.9 Impediments to Perceiving God
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Chovos HaLevavos, Shaar HaBechinah chapter 6  ************************************ The contemplation of God through observing creation can be impeded by numerous things. In Shaar HaYichud chapter 10, Rabbeinu Bachaye lists several things that impede recognizing God’s unity. Among these are polytheism, idolatry, attributing a physical form to God, and following one’s lowly physical urges. (This is not […]
3.8 Learning to Perceive God
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Sources refer to Rabbi Bachaye ibn Pakuda’s Chovos HaLevavos (Duties of the Heart)  ************************************ Seven Different Types of Signs (Chapter 4) There are seven different types of signs of wisdom in creation that we may observe and contemplate: The signs of wisdom inherent in the basic elements of the world. Regarding these, King David said, […]