Author Topic: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge  (Read 8416 times)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #250 on: January 29, 2019, 06:37:07 AM »
The trust and faith that everything comes from God, Who only does good, and that He is together with a person in all harsh situations, will help a person to accept his difficulties with more tranquility. (The very fact that people in the world still experience pain and suffering is due to the mystical truth that God’s Divine Presence in the world, the Shechinah, is still suffering along with us in our temporary condition of spiritual exile and the continuing destruction of His dwelling place, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.) When a person in distress recognizes the connection he has with God’s Presence, he can receive his situation with cheerfulness – as it says, “Happy is the man whom you chasten.” And because he knows that everything comes from God and is for his ultimate benefit, whether in this world or in his afterlife, this happiness turns his perception of his pains and troubles into good, which is in fact the true reality of their hidden source within the Supernal Good. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 136-137)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #251 on: January 30, 2019, 06:16:17 AM »
Just as all things that God does for a person are for his good, a person should know that whatever desires God puts into his heart through his evil inclination are also for good. The evil inclination, which tries to seduce him to sin, is not part of his inner essence, but is like a bad spirit that rests in the person to test him. (This mode of our existence began with the temptation and fall of Adam and Hava on the day of their creation in the Garden of Eden, in accordance with God’s plan.) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 137-138)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #252 on: January 31, 2019, 06:29:29 AM »
It is for the benefit of a person to fight against his bad inclination and subdue and control it, for this reveals his inner powers and the image of God within him. Through this ongoing battle he will merit to become a pious servant of God, blessed be He, like a soldier who serves valiantly on the field of battle for the defense and love of his homeland. It is only through this war with one’s internal evil that one can awaken his inner powers to beseech God for His help in this effort and to become ever closer to Him, as explained above regarding Abraham’s tests. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 138)


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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #253 on: February 01, 2019, 06:32:37 AM »
A pious person should contemplate the fact that every “bad” occurrence also comes from God. It may be that on a revealed level it is connected with an apparently “random” course of events, such as sickness or the forces of nature. Or it may be that another person abused him, for God gives life to the abuser as well, and also directs the specific harm he does. For even though the person who is causing the trouble has the freedom of choice to abuse or not (and he will therefore be punished by God for choosing to commit this sin, if he does not properly repent), nevertheless, it was already decreed by God that the victim would undergo this suffering. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 141)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #254 on: February 02, 2019, 05:29:34 AM »
Thus is the way of those who are pious, to act kindly and to empathize with the pain and troubles of other people. Whoever sees a friend in pain and hides from him is a sinner, and certainly that is not the way of the pious. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 142)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #255 on: February 03, 2019, 06:05:12 AM »
Nevertheless, one should learn from the lesson of Job’s four friends, how not to speak to a person who is suffering, while he is being tested and his faith is being challenged. When they heard of his illness and tribulations, they all came with the initial good intention to comfort him and encourage him to the best of their abilities. ( For when a person is beset with suffering, his friends feel pained by that as well and want to help.) But in the case of Job’s friends, three of them failed to do so, and instead spoke to him hurtfully and without wisdom – as it says, “They found no answer and condemned Job.” The fourth spoke with wisdom, but he did so in anger and with his voice raised. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 142)


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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #256 on: February 04, 2019, 05:41:07 AM »
One must remember that the purpose of visiting people during their illness or distress is to show them support and pray for them, and beg God to grant them mercy. By visiting someone who is in distress, one can also best find out how to help fix the unfortunate situation, and to give gentle good advice for how the person can help himself with a wise plan of action or by improving his ways, or the like. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 142)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #257 on: February 05, 2019, 03:18:45 AM »
Conversely, depression is a harsh and bad trait, which hinders a person’s ability to serve God and have success in life, to the point that one can generally consider a fall into depression as a scheme of the evil inclination (as opposed to those for whom it is a chronic clinical medical condition, which is not discussed here).

Therefore, one must distance oneself from depression to the utmost, knowing that this is not the path of serving God. On the contrary, it makes one fall into the schemes of the evil inclination and give in to hedonistic pleasures of the physical world. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 143)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #258 on: February 06, 2019, 08:14:55 AM »
A person should contemplate and recognize the source of depression. If it comes from physical hardship, one should contemplate the matters elucidated earlier in this section, based on the verse, “Happy is the man whom You chasten” - that one should be happy with the knowledge that everything comes from God and is for his ultimate benefit, although it is sometimes hidden from human comprehension. Through this one will believe and accept that this suffering comes from God for his good, which thereby eases the hardship, as explained earlier. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 143)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #259 on: February 07, 2019, 08:17:02 AM »
If the depression results from the hardship of one’s spiritual standing (e.g. that the person is unable to overcome his evil inclination or the like), or that he had previously erred and done many sins, causing his heart to be broken, he should contemplate that the depression is only another scheme of the evil inclination. After it seduces a person to sin, it endeavors to cause him to completely give up hope in his effort to be righteous, so that through falling step by step, he will become subjugated to his sinful desires. This is the way of warring nations: part of the battle is psychological warfare, in which one side tries to convince the other that it has no chance of winning, in order that its forces will weaken and grow fearful, and be defeated more easily.

Regarding this tactic of the evil inclination, King David said: “I have become wise from my enemies” - i.e., I will learn the ways and tactics of my enemies in order to be victorious over them. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 143-144)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #260 on: February 08, 2019, 05:26:47 AM »
The depression that comes from the evil inclination occurred with the first evil acts that were perpetrated by human beings in the world. It occurred to Cain, when he saw that his sacrifice to God was not accepted, despite the fact that his brother Abel’s sacrifice was accepted. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 144)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #261 on: February 09, 2019, 07:03:57 AM »
“And the Lord said to Cain: ‘Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen?’ [i.e. Why are you falling into depression?] ‘Is it not true that if you do well, you will be forgiven? But if you do not improve [yourself], at the entrance [of your grave], sin crouches; its longing is toward you;’ [ i.e. The evil inclination desires to make you sin, and therefore it begins by seducing you to frustration. Then it continues to endeavor to subdue you with depression that will cause you to despair. But if you sincerely try, although it is a challenge,] ‘yet you can rule over it.’ [i.e. you, and not the evil inclination, are master over your body and your actions.]

This teaches that it is in your power to improve and not despair, but if you continue in the way of depression once it starts, you will fall prey to the plan of the evil inclination, which will continue to succeed in causing you to sin. (That is what actually did occur to Cain: he allowed his depression and jealousy to continue until it brought him to fall into much greater sin of killing his brother Abel.) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 144-145)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #262 on: February 10, 2019, 06:07:50 AM »
However, there is a small advantage that one can draw out from a bout of depression if it happens due to one’s hardship or lack of success in spiritual matters (described above) or material matters. The advantage is achieved by transferring the depression into a feeling of bitterness over the distance one has put between himself and God, by falling prey to mundane distractions which are akin to actual idolatry. The bitterness will cause one to abhor the triviality of one’s mundane life, with its meaningless chasing after physical pleasures and honor. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 145)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #263 on: February 11, 2019, 07:58:24 AM »
One must be careful that the temporary bitterness which is aroused will bring only positive awakening, a renewed spirit and hopefulness in the heart (which is the opposite of depression, that instead results in despair, dullness and spiritual death). With this awakening, one can demand from himself that he abandon his pursuit of honor and worldly pleasures. Then the true positive purpose for this bitterness will be achieved, to motivate the person to take action and return to God. Then he should not retain it, God forbid, but rather replace it with the true joy that results from it, which is the joy of coming back under the “wings of the Divine Presence.” (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 145)


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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #264 on: February 12, 2019, 09:25:00 AM »
The effectiveness of sincere repentance to God as an antidote for past sins can be seen in the case of the Gentile population of the Biblical city of Nineveh, as it says in the Book of Jonah:

And the word of God came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and proclaim against it, for their wickedness has come before Me.” … Jonah began to enter into the city … and he proclaimed and said, “In another forty days Nineveh will be overturned!” And the people of Nineveh believed in God … it was proclaimed and declared throughout Nineveh by the counsel of the king and his nobles, saying: … “Both man and animal shall cover themselves with sackcloth, and they shall call out mightily to God. Everyone shall repent of his evil way and of the robbery that is in their hands.”… And God saw their deeds, that they repented of their evil way; and God relented concerning the evil He had spoken to them, and He did not do it. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 147-148)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #265 on: February 13, 2019, 05:15:59 AM »
A person should not think that repentance is only necessary for sins that involve speech or deeds, such as slander, idolatry, promiscuity, or theft. Rather, just as a person is obligated to repent from those types of sins, similarly, he must search out and strive to correct his bad character traits, whether he has them inherently or he learned them from others. He must turn away and repent from anger, hatred, envy, frivolity, greediness, honor-seeking, gluttony and the like.

These bad character traits are more difficult to abandon and repent for than those that involve deeds. If a person is attached to any of these bad traits, it is more difficult for him to separate himself from them. In this context it says, “May the wicked abandon his path, and the crooked man his designs, and he should return to God and He will have mercy on him, and to God, for His forgiveness is bountiful.” (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 152)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #266 on: February 14, 2019, 06:39:43 AM »
If the sins committed by the people of a country are exceedingly numerous and extreme, God will bring it to oblivion, by destruction or by events that nullify their national identity. This is exemplified in God’s statement to Abraham about the verdict He was placing upon the wicked people of Sodom and its surrounding metropolis:”And God said, ‘Since the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and since their sin has become very grave; I will descend now and see, whether they have done according to the cry of it, which has come before Me – [I will bring] destruction, and if not, I will know.” This implies that God would examine the sins of each and every person, and that His righteous judgment would ensure that any righteous people in that population would be saved, even if they were only a small minority. God assured Abraham about this when He responded to Abraham’s request and prayer that He consider any righteous people before His verdict for the population’s destruction was sealed. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 154)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #267 on: February 15, 2019, 07:23:57 AM »
In regard to the entire world as well, if the sins of humanity would become exceedingly greater than their merits, the wicked would be destroyed, as happened to the generation of the Flood. The wicked would perish, and the righteous would be saved, as were Noah and his family, as it is written, “God saw the evil of mankind was great … and God said: ‘I will wash away man’ … But Noah found favor in the eyes of God.’”(Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 154-155)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #268 on: February 16, 2019, 06:46:18 AM »
A person who regrets good actions he has done and discredits his merits, saying in his heart, “What difference does it make that I have done them? I wish I had never done them,” loses those merits, and does not receive a reward for any of them, as the verse says, “… The righteousness of the righteous will not save him on the day of his transgression ...” (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 155)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #269 on: February 17, 2019, 06:09:33 AM »
This judgment of individuals, communities and nations occurs every year at the beginning of year in the Hebrew calendar, which is the day of Rosh Hashanah – the first day of the month of Tishrei, which falls in September or early October. That is also when God, the King of the Universe, determines what the lot in life will be in the year ahead, for all people and all living creatures. God administers this judgment with mercy, for He allows a person’s repentance, prayer and charity to avert the strictness of His decree, and those efforts by a person are especially effective in the 30 days before Rosh HaShanah. Even after Rosh HaShanah, a person can repent and be forgiven for the sins for which he was judged on Rosh HaShanah, and he can be shielded from punishment by doing more deeds of goodness, kindness and charity. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 157)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #270 on: February 18, 2019, 06:50:48 AM »
All of this applies while a person is still alive. When a person dies, there is no more opportunity for repentance, and his soul is given its summary judgment in the Heavenly Court. If in the balance of merits and unrepentant sins it is found to be righteous, it immediately merits to enter its place of spiritual paradise in the Heavenly firmaments, where righteous souls receive their reward for their service to God during their life on earth. If in the balance it is found to be sinful, it descends to Gehinom , which is the spiritual Purgatory. After the sinful soul is purged of its unrepented transgressions in Gehinom, it then ascends to its spiritual paradise to receive the reward for its merits. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 157)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #271 on: February 19, 2019, 05:49:16 AM »
It remains to explain God’s judgment of a beinoni soul, at the intermediate level described above, whose unrepented sins are exactly balanced with its merits. If it does not have a sin of forbidden relations as part of its unrepented transgressions, then God, in His abundant kindness, turns the soul’s balanced judgment to the side of righteousness and raises it to its spiritual paradise. But if it has a sin of forbidden relations as part of its unrepented transgressions, God’s judgment tips to the opposite side, and the soul is assigned to Gehinom because of its sins. After the soul is cleansed there, it then rises to receive its reward in its spiritual paradise. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 157-158)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #272 on: February 20, 2019, 07:10:05 AM »
Tractate Rosh Hashanah 17a. Maimonides, in Laws of Repentance, ch.3, states that among Gentiles, only the pious have a share in the World to Come. It appears that he is including only those who observe all the Seven Noahide Laws as Divine commandments given by God through Moses at Mount Sinai, as he explains in Laws of Kings 8:11. In more detail, a Gentile who accepts the Torah’s Seven Noahide Laws as his commandments, and accepts belief in the One God and the yoke of His Kingship, is guaranteed a share in the future World to Come, which will begin with the general resurrection of the righteous. If a person with this faith happens to infrequently transgress some of the Noahide Laws because of enticement from his evil inclination (and not on account of rejecting God’s Kingship over him and/or the faith that the Noahide Laws are from God), he is still recognized by God as being Pious Gentile. Thus, on the one hand, a person may be judged by God to be generally pious in regard to having merit to receive a place in the future World to Come. But this does not change the fact that when he passes away, his soul is judged at that time according the principles described in this chapter, as to whether, in the balance, he was righteous, intermediate or sinful (with only the unrepented sins being considered) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 157-158)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #273 on: February 21, 2019, 05:55:39 AM »
There are also some people who are so bad that they have no portion in the future World to Come, and also no spiritual reward before that, in their afterlife. On account of their serious deliberate, rebellious, and unrepentant sins, the good deeds they did are not enough to tip their scale to the side of receiving any spiritual reward, even temporarily. Rather, their souls will be cut off forever from experiencing God’s Presence. After their death, their souls are repaid in Gehinom for their unrepented sins and for remaining in their evil natures and attitudes throughout their lives. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 160-161)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #274 on: February 22, 2019, 04:39:00 AM »
Five types of people are in the category of a “deviant believer”:

(a) one who says there is no deity, and the universe is not overseen;

(b) one who maintains that there are two or more gods;

(c) one who accepts that there is only one god, but having a body or form;

(d) one who maintains that God was not the only First Existence and the Creator of everything, but rather there was a continuously existing primordial matter from which God formed the world;

(e) one who worships/serves and idol (or a star or constellation, or some other entity), having in mind that it will serve as an intermediary (a shituf in Hebrew) between him and God. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 162-163)