DERECH HASHEM PDF

The son of Jacob Vita and Diamente Luzzatto, [1] he received classical Jewish and Italian education, showing a predilection for literature at a very early age. He may have attended the University of Padua and certainly associated with a group of students there, known to dabble in mysticism and alchemy. With his vast knowledge in religious lore, the arts, and science, he quickly became the dominant figure in that group. His writings demonstrate mastery of the Tanakh , the Talmud , and the rabbinical commentaries and codes of Jewish law.

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For in truth, the perception of many parts about which we do not know their connections or true places in the structure of all that is constructed by them is nothing but a heavy and joyless burden to the intellect that desires to understand [it]. The intellect wearies itself with it; it toils, despairs, tires and has no pleasure; as it will not quench its desire to come to the purpose of any [part] that one has come to consider. For this will not come to him, since he is missing its complete context.

As a great part of something is surely its relationships to those things that relate to it, and its place within its context - and this is lacking from him. So it comes out that his desire is his unresolvable burden; and his longing is his unassuageable pain. Not so is the one who knows something in its context. When he examines it, it is clearly revealed in his eyes as it [actually] is. He grows in his understanding of that to which he turns and he enjoys the beauty of his work and is exhilarated.

And, in general, that which one needs to examine about his subject is [the knowledge of] its true place that we mentioned. And that is because when we surely examine all things - physical and conceptual, which is all that can be grasped by our intellects - it comes out that they are not all of one type or one function, but rather of different types and differing functions. And according to the difference in their types, so will their properties and axioms differ.

And this is what compels us to distinguish between them with our intellects, so that we may truly understand them - each one according to its axioms. However the first [step in knowledge] of the types and functions is one. And that is to know to which one of them the subject belongs, meaning to the part or the whole, to the specific or the category, to the cause or the effect, to the subject or its associations. And this is what is required to know about a subject first: Is it the whole thing or a part, a category or a specific, is it a cause or an effect, is it the [actual] subject or an association?

If it is a specific, he will seek to analyze the category. If it is a cause, he will seek to analyze its effects; if an effect, its cause. If it is an association, he will seek [knowledge] about the subject, as well as to know what type of association it is - if precedent, if antecedent or if accompanying; if essential or contingent; and if potential or actual. All of these are examinations without which he will not completely comprehend the form of the thing.

With all of it [however], he may contemplate the nature of the thing, to know if it is constant or limited. And if it is limited, he should investigate its limits. For surely any true matter will end up becoming false if it is ascribed to a subject not fitting it or if it is seen outside of its limits. Yet what is fit is for him to attempt to know the general principles. As the nature of every principle is to contain [knowledge about] many details.

So when one grasps one principle, he [also] grasps a great number of details. And even though he has not yet examined them because they are [only] details [subsumed by] the principle; [nevertheless] when one of them comes to him, he is not stunted by knowing it, since [its] general matter - which perforce must exist - is already known to him.

And likewise the Sages, may their memory be blessed, said Sifrei Devarim , "Matters of Torah should always be in your hands as general principles and not as details. And you must even pay attention to, and not neglect, things that first appear to be lacking any application. For there is no small or large thing in a general principle that does not have [some] application in the details.

And if it does not add or take away anything about some of the details, it will certainly have great application about others.

Since a principle is a principle about all the details, it must contain [some information] about each of them. Hence you must be very exacting about this and examine their functions, their relationships and their connections with great precision. And you must examine their processes and progression very very well - [to know] how one matter leads to another, from the beginning to the end.

And my intention in it was to present with clarity in front of you the general principles of faith and [divine] service in such a way that you could understand them properly, so that they create a model for you sufficiently free of jumble and confusion.

Then you will clearly see their roots and branches and contexts; such that they will sit well upon your heart, and you will acquire them with your mind in the most superior way. Hence you must now also be precise about all this and hold on to it with outstanding diligence until you find a place where it will help you. And do not neglect any nuance, lest an essential matter escape you. Rather this is what you should do: Be precise with all the words, and make efforts to understand the content of all of the matters and to store all of their truth in your mind.

Then you will find it to be a comfort that will benefit you. And behold I have entitled the book, The Way of God. For it truly consists of His ways, may He be blessed, that He revealed to us through His prophets and made known to us through His Torah, and by which He leads us and leads all of His creatures.

And I have divided it into four sections: In the first I will speak about the principle of the foundations of existence and its details; in the second about His providence, may He be blessed; in the third about prophecy; and in the fourth about [divine] service.

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Derech Hashem

The author known by his acronym, Ramchal begins with our most basic beliefs regarding the existence of G-d and His purpose in creation, and goes on to present the concepts needed to understand all the other important teachings of Judaism. We are dedicated to reaching out to all who are interested in learning Torah. DTLC has something for everyone. We offer a variety of classes including Parsha of the week, Mishna, Writting and Mussar.

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Moshe Chaim Luzzatto

For in truth, the perception of many parts about which we do not know their connections or true places in the structure of all that is constructed by them is nothing but a heavy and joyless burden to the intellect that desires to understand [it]. The intellect wearies itself with it; it toils, despairs, tires and has no pleasure; as it will not quench its desire to come to the purpose of any [part] that one has come to consider. For this will not come to him, since he is missing its complete context. As a great part of something is surely its relationships to those things that relate to it, and its place within its context - and this is lacking from him. So it comes out that his desire is his unresolvable burden; and his longing is his unassuageable pain. Not so is the one who knows something in its context. When he examines it, it is clearly revealed in his eyes as it [actually] is.

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