Author Topic: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge  (Read 1827 times)

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Online Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2018, 04:15:40 AM »
The ultimate mission and greatness of mankind is to gain understanding and knowledge of God, each person according to his own strengths and abilities. In order to achieve this recognition, it is necessary, but not sufficient, for a person to have faith in the principles which the righteous Jewish sages have explained in the past about God. This is based on their chain of tradition from Moses our teacher and the subsequent true prophets of the Hebrew Bible, and through their own Divinely inspired insights. Beyond that, it is the obligation of each person to try to understand such matters with his own intellect, so that he may know them. In this way, a person can come to know and recognize the true existence of God, according to his ability (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 13).

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2018, 04:17:42 AM »
It is clear that the Holy One, blessed be He, is not confined to a body or physical form. Although He may present Himself to a person as a specific form in a prophetic vision, intellectually, that is so the person can receive God’s message within his mind and senses. This is the revelation of the Creator through the medium of a certain intellectual context, in accordance with the prophet’s level, in order that he will be able to perceive God in some limited way. God can be perceived by one prophet as sitting on a holy throne, or to another as a voice that is speaking, and yet these are not true descriptions of God’s actual existence, as can readily be understood. Rather, it is a visual or auditory description in the mind, produced by a certain effect that God brings, and this is simply the manner of God’s speaking to the prophet or appearing to him in a vision (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 16-17).

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2018, 04:37:45 AM »
This correct concept of prophecy also serves to negate the false idea of an intermediary between God and humans. A reason why people originally made the mistake of accepting the idea of an intermediary was that they thought God is too “high” to lower Himself to relate to earthly creatures. From this, they further reasoned that there was no relationship and connection between the Creator and mankind, and no Divine Providence over them. They imagined that God does not truly care about what people do, and that He therefore consigns the governance of the world (totally or partially) to intermediary powers.

The rectification of this error is accomplished when people accept the knowledge which is revealed by God through His true prophets. This brings them to unify themselves with God, and nullify themselves before Him, so they can willfully submit themselves to His purpose and plan. One clear benefit which this brings to a person is the gift of knowing that God’s Divine Providence is actively involved with His creations, including each individual person (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 41-42).

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2018, 04:46:35 AM »
God watches over a person, sustaining his life and the direction he chooses, for His desire is that the person will come to choose to live according to His will. Therefore, if a person merits, refining himself to the point that his will follows God’s will (which is embodied in the Torah of Moses, as we shall explain), he has unified himself with the Godly purpose and life-force imbued in him – he and these higher dimensions of his existence become one. For such a person, the clarity being revealed to him in his mind and heart is the initial intimation of prophecy. Since he has become a proper vessel to reveal the Godly image within himself, therefore God will open for him true thoughts and correct knowledge.

This is the main concept of prophecy: it is God’s bonding of His knowledge with a person’s knowledge, and the person’s being influenced by this. This is in contrast to the popular conception of prophesy, that it means a prediction of a future event or the performance of a miracle (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 42).

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2018, 04:43:40 AM »
There are many levels among the prophets. Just as there can be one person who is greater than another in wisdom, likewise one person can be greater than another in prophecy. All but the greatest of prophets only receive their prophecy in a vision in a dream at night, or during the day when a great trance falls upon them, as it says, “In a vision I will become known to him, in a dream I will speak to him.” When they receive their prophecy, their limbs shake, their body becomes weak, they lose their senses, and their mind becomes clear to understand what it sees. This is what it states concerning Abraham: “and a great, dark dread fell over him.” Similarly, the prophet Daniel described his condition when a vision appeared to him: “My appearance was horribly changed, and I retained no strength.”

They do not have prophecy whenever they want. If they desire to receive a prophecy, for themselves or someone else, they need to direct their minds to God and sit in seclusion with feelings of happiness. For prophecy does not come to rest on prophet while he is sad, or lethargic, but rather only when he is happy. Therefore, when the prophet Elisha needed to receive a prophecy, but his mind was agitated, he called for a musician to play for him to settle and uplift his mood. Then he was able to prophesy, as it says, “It happened that as the musician played, the hand of God came upon him.” (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 51).

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #30 on: July 19, 2018, 05:20:38 AM »
It is clear and explicit in the Torah itself (the Five Books of Moses) that it is God’s commandment, to remain in its original form forever without change, addition, or diminishment – as it is stated, “All these matters which I command to you, you shall be careful to perform. You may not add to it or diminish from it;”(Deuteronomy 13:1) and as it is also stated, “What is revealed is for us and our children forever, to carry out all the words of this Torah.”(Ibid., 29:28) This teaches that we are commanded to fulfill all the Torah’s directives forever, to the full extent that we are able to do so.

It is also said:”It is an everlasting statute for all your generations,”(Leviticus 23:14) and, “It is not in the Heavens.”(Deuteronomy 30:12) This teaches that a prophet can no longer truthfully claim that he has been told by God to add a new permanent precept as being commanded by God. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 59)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #31 on: July 20, 2018, 06:59:05 AM »
It is an obligation for a person to love and fear the glorious and awesome God with all his might.

The inspiration to feel love and fear of God is most effectively achieved by focusing one’s knowledge upon Him, while putting his own mundane matters aside. When a person takes the time to contemplate God’s wondrous and great deeds, that He is continuously creating and guiding everything that exists in the spiritual and physical realms, and he appreciates that God’s eternal wisdom is infinite and surpasses all comparison, he will become inspired to love, praise, and glorify Him. This will bring him to yearn with tremendous desire to recognize God’s existence and His attributes, as King David expressed: “My soul thirsts for the Lord, for the living God.”(Psalms 42:3) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 63)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2018, 04:31:32 AM »
Unlike Jews, Noahides have no set liturgy (nusach in Hebrew) which they are obligated to follow. Rather, each individual can pray in his own words, in a language that he understands. It is proper to include recitation of excerpts from the Book of Psalms by King David, of blessed memory, since the Psalms are all prayers to God that were composed with holy inspiration (ruach hakodesh) and encompass all the essential needs and righteous spiritual emotions that people may have.

The most appropriate order for prayer is that one should first sincerely praise God according to his capability, then ask for his own needs (and for any blessings that he wishes to request for others), and then conclude with giving praise and thanks for what God has given him. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 85-86)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2018, 04:59:55 AM »
Concentration is needed as a preparation for prayer, in order to be ready to focus one’s thoughts on God, the Supreme King. Concentration is also needed as a main part of the prayer itself, together with the verbalization. This means that during prayer, one should focus one’s thoughts to the point that they are unified with the words that he is speaking to God. This service of the heart is the essence of prayer, as we quoted in the previous chapter, from the sages of the Talmud: “What is this ‘service of the heart’? This is prayer.”

The basics of prayer with concentration are twofold: one should position himself in prayer while focusing his mind and staying aware of (a) the One God before Whom he is praying, and (b) what he is praying for. To facilitate this, one should arrange his thoughts before he begins to pray, regarding the things about which he wants to supplicate and pour out his soul before God. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 89)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2018, 07:53:38 AM »
To those who are physically sick, the bitter tastes sweet and the sweet tastes bitter. Some sick people even desire and crave things that are not fit to eat, such as earth and charcoal, and hate healthful foods, such as bread and meat – all depending on how serious the sickness is.

Similarly, those who are morally ill desire and love bad traits, and they hate the good path and are lazy to follow it. Depending on how sick they are, they may find it exceedingly burdensome.

Isaiah speaks of such people in a like manner: “Woe to those who call the bad ‘good’ and the good ‘bad’, who take (spiritual) darkness to be light and (spiritual) light to be darkness, who take (morally) bitter to be sweet and (morally) sweet to be bitter.” King Solomon described such people as “those who leave the upright paths to walk in the ways of darkness. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 96)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #35 on: July 24, 2018, 07:55:16 AM »
The heart of a man naturally desires forbidden relations, and the sages therefore exhorted people to make boundaries for themselves to distance themselves from this sin. In particular, a man or a woman should not be secluded with someone for whom intimate relations are forbidden to them on account of the commandment prohibiting adultery. The same applies for any case involving a man or woman who has an active desire for a particular type of forbidden relations – someone whom such people would be attracted to for forbidden relations should not be secluded with them. It is true that seclusion without physical contact, with someone for whom physical intimacy is forbidden, is not stated as a Torah-law prohibition for Gentiles. But it is nevertheless wise for one’s spiritual health to distance oneself from those seclusions, and to be guarded from any situation that can bring one to sin. A man is praiseworthy if he is scrupulous and careful not to be secluded with any woman, other than his wife and immediate female relatives. A pious man will follow this even for a woman whom he intends to marry. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 101-102)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #36 on: July 24, 2018, 08:31:12 AM »
The heart of a man naturally desires forbidden relations...

This is why every woman is obligated to act in a modest way. An immodest woman causes others to sin every second of her life. It is sad that most women do not understand this.

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2018, 04:57:57 AM »
This is why every woman is obligated to act in a modest way. An immodest woman causes others to sin every second of her life. It is sad that most women do not understand this.
Yes, especially in present times. Women were much more modest in past.

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2018, 04:58:52 AM »
The trait of modesty is an offshoot of the trait of humility, for a humble person carries himself modestly and does not show off, since that is unbefitting of him. By contrast, a haughty person shows off and is obtrusive in ways that are unbefitting. One who is modest and bashful will honor others, whereas a haughty person who glorifies himself over others and is not modest before them will scoff at them, and is not careful to honor them.

The same applies to a person’s deference to God. A modest person is prepared to feel that God constantly watches him and examines his actions and behavior, and therefore he will be bashful and humble before Him and will fear Him. Thus it is said, “The result of humility is fear of God”. (Proverbs 22:4) The trait of modesty is obligatory even when one is alone in privacy, and one should always strive to be modest at all times and in all of his ways, because he will thereby train himself to remember the watchful Presence and Providence of God that is over him at every moment. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 104)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2018, 05:11:41 AM »
It is a moral injunction that one may not hate someone in his heart. Nor may one do or say anything that would degrade or belittle someone in order to embarrass him. It is also forbidden to curse anyone or speak evil about someone.

One who gains honor through degrading another person does not have a share in the World to Come, and the same applies for one who deliberately embarrasses someone in public (to the point that the person’s face changes color). Instead, one should guard others people’s honor as he would his own.

These rules of upright behavior are included in the universal “Golden Rule” that was stated by the great sage Hillel: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to another person.” (Tractate Shabbos 31a) Likewise, it is stated in the Torah, “…love your fellow as yourself; I am the Lord.”(Leviticus 19:18)

A pious person will only speak about someone with mention of his praise, and constantly looks upon others favorably. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 113)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #40 on: July 27, 2018, 04:44:33 AM »
It is forbidden for a person to embarrass another, even if only with speech, or call another with a name that is embarrassing to him, or speak before him about a matter that is embarrassing to him. The sages said: “A person who embarrasses a colleague in public (to the point that his face changes color) does not have a share in the World to Come.” Abiding by this manner of conduct, Tamar did not wish to publicize the fact that Judah had conceived with her, even though doing so would have saved her from death sentence. She said, “Better that I should die and not embarrass him in public.” (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 116)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2018, 07:36:54 AM »
One should be careful not to speak callously to a distressed person. For example: one may not speak to an ill person about matters of his health that are distressful to him; if a person has had a financial loss, one should not pain him by speaking about his business ventures. God made a covenant about the cries of the deprived, that He will bring retribution on those who cause them to suffer – as it says, “For if he shall cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry.”(Exodus 22:22) If anyone harasses them with hurtful words and intends to distress and pain them, and therefore they cry out, they are answered. God hears thy cry of the poor, and hearkens to the cry of the downtrodden – as it is stated, “To the poor person who is with you… if he cries out to Me (that someone has pained or oppressed him), I shall listen, for I am compassionate.”(Exodus 22:24, 26) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 120)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #42 on: July 29, 2018, 04:46:23 AM »
A pious person who serves the Blessed and Exalted God will know that part of one’s service is withstanding tests. Each person has a different Divine service than the next, as each person’s views and character are different from the next person. Likewise, each person has different tests than the next, but certainly, every person does have his own challenges and tests.

The sages said, “There is no wise person like one who withstands a test,” meaning that one who was tested, and withstood the test, is certainly a truly wise person. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 129)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #43 on: July 31, 2018, 05:26:34 AM »
Since it is such a major goal of the evil inclination to draw a person into depression, one should understand from this that he has the power to overcome it, since God does not test a person with something he does not have the power to overcome. The first step to win the battle is the belief, happiness and trust that God always gives him the ability to act correctly.

One should contemplate that God, blessed be He, never despairs of him, and that God hopes he will return to Him in repentance and become a righteous person. This will bolster his understanding and faith that he has the power to be upright and fix his situation. With this he should be happy and trust in God, and get to work forthwith on bettering his ways in actual fact. This is a powerful contemplation: Since God still has hope in me, surely I have true worth, and I am essential for the mission to do more good actions! (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 #44 on: July 31, 2018, 05:27:17 AM »
A person should not imagine that his past actions are absolutely sealed before God, which would lead to the false conclusion that since he had sinned, it is impossible for him to now be a pious and upright person in God’s eyes. That is not the truth, since God is merciful and gracious, and He waits for the repentance of sinners and their rectification of their sinful ways. When a sinner does repent correctly and abandons his bad ways, and accepts upon himself the yoke of God’s Kingship (and to henceforth observe what God has commanded him to do and not to do), then God mercifully accepts him with open arms. God forgives him for the sins he has repented for, and does not punish him for those past errors that he regrets.

Solemn contemplation on the above great things that can be accomplished by repentance can bring a person to wholehearted love for God and yearning for His closeness. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 146-147)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #45 on: August 01, 2018, 05:06:53 AM »
How could it be demonstrated that a person has a reached complete repentance for a sin that he committed? In one aspect, this is verified if he happens to find himself in the same type of situation in which he sinned before, and he is confronted with the option to do the sin again. Nevertheless, this time he refrains and does not commit the sin, only because he has decided to repent from that behavior, and not because of fear that people will see him, or lack of ability, etc.

For example, consider a man who engaged in sexual relations with another man’s wife. After some length of time, they meet again in privacy, while their desire and physical ability still persist. But nevertheless, because the man resolved not to repeat his sin, he refrains and does not transgress. This demonstrates that his repentance was complete. Of course, this can apply to either the former adulterer or the adulteress. (Such a scenario is only relevant after it happened to take place. From the outset, a person is forbidden to deliberately put himself to a test. One should never be sure of himself as to seek out tempting situations in order to be tested before God, especially since it may be that he was never before tempted with the full strength of his evil inclination. Since this was demonstrated by the case of the righteous King David in the incident with Bat Sheva, (II Samuel,ch. 11) how much is it so for everyone else.) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 149-150)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #46 on: August 02, 2018, 06:35:51 AM »
Each and every person has merits and sins. A person whose merits exceed his unrepented sins in God’s calculation is termed “righteous” (tzadik), in the sense of being declared to be on the side of righteousness in God’s overall judgment. A person whose unrepented sins exceed his merits in God’s calculation is termed “sinful” (rasha), in the sense of being declared to be on the side of sinfulness in God’s overall judgment. If his merits and unrepented sins are judged to be equally balanced in God’s calculation, he is termed “intermediate” (beinoni).

This reckoning is not calculated only on the basis of the number of merits and sins, but also takes into account their magnitude in God’s eyes, with all things being considered for that particular person. A person is likely to have some merits which for him will each outweigh many sins, as implied by the verse:” … because there is found in him a good deed toward the Lord, God of Israel”(I Kings 14:13). In contrast, a person may have some sins which for him will each outweigh many merits – as it is stated, “One sin may obscure much good.”(Ecclesiastes 9:18) This relative weighing of sins and merits is unique for each person, and it is carried out according to the wisdom of the Omniscient God. Only God knows how to weigh the merits against the sins for each person. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 153-154)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #47 on: August 03, 2018, 06:37:09 AM »
From prophets of the Hebrew Bible (Isaiah, (26:19) Ezekiel, (37:12-14) and Daniel, (12:2)) and sages of the Talmud, it is known that in the Messianic Era, the world will reach the time of the Resurrection of the Dead, when God will bring back to life the righteous people of all the past generations, and openly reveal Himself to them. He will thenceforth dwell together with them, and that will be the eternal era of the World to Come, which will be the unique and wondrous ultimate spiritual reward. The meaning of “a portion in the World to Come” is the eternal cleaving of the person’s body and soul with the Divine Presence, each person according to his own level and his own actions.

A Gentile merits to have a portion in that future World to Come if he accepts the Seven Noahide Laws and is careful to keep them, provided that he does this because God commanded them in the Torah and made it known through Moses that He had previously commanded the Children of Noah about them. When a Gentile lives in this manner, he has ascended to the spiritual of the “pious of the nations of the world” (i.e., a Pious Gentile) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 159)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #48 on: August 04, 2018, 06:26:20 AM »
A person should not entertain the idea held by many fools, and what is claimed by some doctrines, that at the time of a person’s conception or birth, the Holy One, blessed be He, decrees whether he will be righteous or a sinner. This is untrue. Each person is able to be righteous or bad. Similarly , he may be wise or foolish, merciful or cruel, miserly or generous, or he may acquire any other character traits. There is no one who compels him, sentences him, or lead him towards either of any two extremes. Rather, he tends to the character traits he chooses, based on his own initiative and decision. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 165)

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #49 on: August 05, 2018, 05:45:37 AM »
There are certain sins for which God’s justice determines that punishment is to be administered in this world. This might be inflicted by God upon the sinner’s body, or with trials and tribulations, or on his possessions, or on his small children. (God’s punishment of a person may be administered through a Divine decree upon his small children who do not yet possess intellectual maturity, which applies for daughters under the age of 12, and sons under the age of 13. This concept is alluded to by the verse: “ A man will die because of his own sins”(Deuteronomy 24:16) The wording of the verse means that it only applies after one has become an adult, because a Divine decree may come upon a young child as a punishment to the child’s sinful parent.)

There are other sins for which God’s justice determines that punishment is to be exacted upon a person’s soul in its spiritual afterlife, with no damage coming upon the transgressor during his physical life in this world. There are other sins for which punishment is given both during the sinner’s life in the physical world and in his afterlife.

The above applies only when the transgressor does not repent. However, if he repents, his repentance (teshuva in Hebrew) is a shield against punishment. Just as a person can sin consciously and willfully, he also has the ability to repent consciously and willfully. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 168-169)