Derech Hashem Full TOC

The Way of God

Part I: Fundamentals   29

 

1. The Creator   31

1.1.1 The Existence of God   31

1.1.2 His incomprehensibility, Tradition   31

1.1.3 His imperative existence   33

1.1.4 His independence   33

1.1.5 His simplicity   33

1.16 His Unity   35

 

2. The purpose of Creation   37

1.2.1 The bestowal of good   37

1.2.2 Earning this good   39

1.2.3 God as the ultimate good   39

1.2.4 Good and evil   41

1.2.5 Man   43

 

3. Man   45

 

1.3.1 Free will   45

1.3.2 Body and soul   45

1.3.3 Effort and reward   47

1.3.4 The World to Come   47

1.3.5 Original Sin   49

1.3.6 Before the Sin   49

1.3.7 The soul’s power   49

1.3.8 The result of Adam’s sin 51

1.3.9 Death and the world’s destruction   51

1.3.10 The different levels of reward   53

1.3.11 The world of souls   53

1.3.12 Experiences of the disembodied and soul   55

1.3.13 Resurrection   57

 

4. Human Responsibility   61

 

1.4.1 Man’s nature and environment   61

1.4.2 The physical and the spiritual   61

1.4.3 Man’s physical nature   63

1.4.4 Use of this world   65

1.4.5 Commandments   67

1.4.6 Awareness of God   67

1.4.7 Commandment and necessity   67

1.4.8 Love and fear of God   69

1.4.9 Study of the Torah 71

1.4.10 Effects of the commandments   71

1.4.11 Their details   73

 

5. The Spiritual Realm   75

 

1.5.1 Physical and spiritual   75

1.5.2 Forces and angels   77

1.5.3 The transcendental Forces   79

1.5.4 Determinism and indeterminism   79

1.5.5 Effects of man’s deeds   81

1.5.6 Interaction with Free Will   83

1.5.7 Forces of good and evil   83

1.5.8 The root of evil   83

1.5.9 Good and evil concepts   87

 

Part II: Providence   89

1. Providence in General   91

2.1.1 Everything has a purpose   91

2.1.2 The sequence of Providence   91

2.1.3 The distinction of man   93

2. Man in This World   95

2.2.1 The purpose of this world   95

2.2.2 The Perfected Community   95

2.2.3 Judgment in this world   97

2.2.4 Spiritual punishment   99

2.2.5 Suffering in general   101

2.2.6 Reward of the wicked in this world   101

2.2.7 Levels in the Perfected Community   103

2.2.8 Deeds rewarded in this world   105

2.2.9 Apparent injustice   107

3. Individual Providence   109

2.3.1 Man’s circumstances as his test   109

2.3.2 How these circumstances are decided   113

2.3.3 Everything as a challenge   113

2.3.4 The influence of one’s deeds   113

2.3.5 Suffering to stimulate repentance   117

2.3.6 The limitations of evil   117

2.3.7 Effects of association   119

2.3.8 Atonement by the righteous   121

2.3.9 The effects of suffering   125

2.3.10 Reincarnation   125

2.3.11 The choice of causes   127

2.3.12 Means and ends   129

4. Israel and the Nations   133

2.4.1 Their conceptual difference   133

2.4.2 Rectification of Adam’s sin   133

2.4.3 Abraham and the Generation of Separation   135

2.4.4 Conversion to Judaism   139

2.4.5 The nation’s last chance   141

2.4.6 The present status of the nations   141

2.4.7 The nations in the Future World   143

2.4.8 Angelic overseers of the nations   143

2.4.9 Rectification depends on Israel   145

5. How Providence Works   147

2.5.1 God’s perception and influence   147

2.5.2 God’s omniscience   147

2.5.3 The chain of Providence   147

2.5.4 Guardian angels   149

2.5.5 General perfection as the goal   151

2.5.6 Miracles   151

6. The System of Providence   155

2.6.1 The heavenly tribunals   155

2.6.2 Their reason 155

2.6.3 Procedures in these Courts   157

2.6.4 Satan as the prosecutor   161

2.6.5 Regulations affecting these Courts   161

7. The Influence of the Stars   163

2.7.1 Stars in the chain of Providence   163

2.7.2 Astrological influence   163

2.7.3 Overriding this influence   165

2.7.4 Limitations of astrology   165

8. Details of Providence   169

 

2.8.1 Justice and mercy   169

2.8.2 Providence affecting physical and spiritual   171

2.8.3 The effects of God’s influence   173

2.8.4 The four states of the world   175

2.8.5 Holy seasons and places   177

 

Part III: The Soul, Inspiration & Prophecy   181

1. The Soul & Its Influence   183

3.1.1 Man’s animal soul   183

3.1.2 The divine soul   185

3.1.3 Interaction between body and soul   185

3.1.4 Levels of soul   187

3.1.5 Influence of the soul   187

3.1.6 Dreams   189

2. Theurgy   193

3.2.1 The transcendental Roots   193

3.2.2 Theurgic influence   195

3.2.3 Spiritual liberation   195

3.2.4 Performing miracles   197

3.2.5 God’s emanations and Names   197

3.2.6 Levels of spiritual liberation   201

3.2.7 Manipulation of angels   201

3.2.8 How evil parallels good   207

3.2.9 Sorcery   207

 

3. Inspiration and Prophecy   213

3.3.1 Divine inspiration   213

3.3.2 Its uses   213

3.3.3 Its broadest sense   215

3.3.4 True prophecy   215

3.3.5 The need for intermediaries   217

3.3.6 Differences between inspiration and prophecy   217

4. The Prophetic Experience   221

3.4.1 Experiencing God   221

3.4.2 Training for prophecy   221

3.4.3 Inadvertent prophecy   223

3.4.4 The master prophet   223

3.4.5 Levels of prophecy   225

3.4.6 The prophetic mission   225

3.4.7 Mistaken prophecy   227

3.4.8 The wording of prophecy   229

3.4.9 Pitfalls of prophecy   229

3.4.10 False prophecy   231

3.4.11 Ahab’s prophecy   233

5. Moshe as a Prophet   239

3.5.1 The unique category of Moshe   239

3.5.2 His prophecy while fully conscious   239

3.5.3 His not being overwhelmed   239

3.5.4 “Lenses” transmitting prophecy   241

3.5.5 His clarity of vision   243

3.5.6 His universal access 243

3.5.7 The meaning of the vision   245

 

Part IV: Serving God   249

 

1. General Areas of Divine Service   251

4.1.1 Study and observance   251

4.1.2 Categories of observance   251

4.1.3 Continuous, daily, seasonal and circumstantial   251

4.1.4 The goal of observance   253

4.1.5 Reasons for its details   253

2. Study of the Torah   255

4.2.1 As a necessary concept   255

4.2.2 Influence of the Torah   255

4.2.3 Levels of understanding   257

4.2.4 To rectify all creation   259

4.2.5 Reverence for the Torah   259

4.2.6 Rectification of one’s deeds   261

4.2.7 Power of the Torah   263

3. Love and Fear of God   267

4.3.1 Fear and awe   267

4.3.2 Love and attachment   269

4. The Sh’ma & Its Blessings   271

4.4.1 The unity of creation   271

4.4.2 God as King   277

4.4.3 Recognition of God’s Kingdom   279

4.4.4 The Sh’ma 283

4.4.5 Giving one’s life for God   283

4.4.6 “Hear O Israel”   287

4.4.7 “Blessed be the Name of His kingdom’s glory”   289

4.4.8 The first paragraph of the Sh’ma 291

4.4.9 Recalling the Exodus   293

4.4.10 The 248 words   295

4.4.11 The Blessings surrounding the Sh’ma 295

4.4.12 The evening Blessings   297

5. Prayer   301

4.5.1 The reason for prayer   301

4.5.2 As an elevation of human effort   301

4.5.3 As an approach to God   303

4.5.4 The rituals of prayer   305

4.5.5 In place of sacrifice   305

6. The Order of the Day  307

4.6.1 Authority of evil at night   307

4.6.2 Man’s defilement at night   309

4.6.3 Man’s purification of the world   311

4.6.4 Washing the hands   311

4.6.5 The Tallis and Tefillin   313

4.6.6 Tzitzis   313

4.6.7 Tefillin   315

4.6.8 Exemption from Tefillin on holy days   315

4.6.9 The morning service   317

4.6.10 Its four divisions   317

4.6.11 The Amidah 319

4.6.12 The Holy Day Amidah 321

4.6.13 The four universes   321

4.6.14 The closing prayers   325

4.6.15 Confession, the Thirteen Attributes, and Tachanun 325

4.6.16 The three daily services and midnight service   327

4.6.17 The Musaf service   329

7. Periodic Observances   331

4.7.1 Special days   331

4.7.2 The Sabbath in general   331

4.7.3 Sabbath observance   335

4.7.4 Honoring the Sabbath   335

4.7.5 Other holy days   337

4.7.6 Initial and anniversary influence   337

 

8. Seasonal Commandments   341

4.8.1 Passover   341

4.8.2 Sukkos   343

4.8.3 Chanukah and Purim   345

4.8.4 Rosh Hashanah   345

4.8.5 Yom Kippur   349

4.8.6 Torah reading   349

9. Circumstantial Observances and Blessings   353

 

4.9.1 Each thing has its commandment   353

4.9.2 Blessings over food   355

4.9.3 Blessings over rituals   355

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