Author Topic: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge  (Read 11656 times)

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Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #225 on: January 04, 2019, 07:19:31 AM »
One who gives charity to a poor person should not do so unpleasantly or with his face down. Instead, he should give the charity with a pleasant countenance and cheerfulness, yet commiserating with the poor person troubles – as Job said, “Did I not weep for those who face difficult times; did not my soul feel sorrow for the destitute?” (Job 30:25) This is an attribute of God – as it is stated, “So said [God], the High and Exalted One, … ‘I abide in exaltedness and holiness, but I am with the [people who are] despondent and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the despondent.’ “ (Isaiah 57:15) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 124)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #226 on: January 05, 2019, 06:09:57 AM »
If one is asked by a poor person for charity and has nothing to give, he should conciliate him with words. One should not scold a poor person or raise one’s voice against him and shout, because his heart is broken and crushed, and therefore God is with him – as it is stated, “a contrite and broken heart, God, You do not disdain.”(Psalms 51:19) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 124)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #227 on: January 06, 2019, 05:51:27 AM »
A pious person who gives charity should not seek to be honored for doing so. It is admirable to give charity secretly, so that the poor recipient will not feel shamed. There is no greater giver of charity than God, Who gives existence to the whole world at every moment, and He does so secretly, hiding His Presence from the mortal recipients of His kindness. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 125)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #228 on: January 07, 2019, 06:48:05 AM »
The highest level of charity occurs when a person supports someone who has fallen into poverty by giving him a present or a loan that he will use to achieve a steady livelihood. Giving money is not even required, if the poor person is given the advice he needs, or a job or a partnership, that will bring him to be self-sufficient. It is a great merit to help others find work that will sustain them comfortably and honorably. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 125)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #229 on: January 08, 2019, 06:36:38 AM »
Why is this greater than any other form of charity? A poor person who accepts handouts is embarrassed by doing this, but for one who receives help or a loan that allows him to begin an occupation, he has been saved from falling to that level. Instead, he feels honorable and not disgraced, because he will be able to repay the loan, and he will be supporting himself. Therefore, one who gives help in this manner has not only given charity, but also honor as well, and he does kindness by sparing the recipient from embarrassment and degradation. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 125)


Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #230 on: January 09, 2019, 06:50:32 AM »
Also included in doing this level of charity and kindness is one who finds a successful match between a man and a woman to join in marriage, and then helps them to establish their home. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 125)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #231 on: January 10, 2019, 05:53:28 AM »
Other traits of kindness that God displayed in the Torah are: clothing the naked (for Adam and Hava), visiting the sick (for Abraham), comforting the bereaved (for Isaac), and burying the dead (for Moses). God also demonstrated the kindness of providing for the needs of a new couple ( Adam and Hava) in their marriage. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 125)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #232 on: January 11, 2019, 06:21:41 AM »
Inviting guests was a main characteristic and method of kindness displayed by Abraham. He would bring in people who were traveling through the desert, and give them sumptuous food and drink (and accommodations if they needed), and he would then escort them on their way. The following episode teaches that hospitality to guests is a greater spiritual accomplishment than receiving God’s Presence: The Torah relates, “And God appeared to him [Abraham] … and he saw; and behold, three men were standing before him … and he ran toward them [to invite them].”(Genesis 18:1-2) Abraham was sitting in communion with God, yet he asked God to wait for him while he ran to invite the “men” (who were angels in disguise) to be his guests.

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #233 on: January 12, 2019, 06:34:30 AM »
One who escorts a guest who is leaving on his way has done a greater deed than one who has invited him in and fed him. The sages said: “one who does not escort a guest on his way is as if he had shed blood.” The cited measure for escorting is at least four cubits (6-8 feet) outside of the home. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 126)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #234 on: January 14, 2019, 07:10:44 AM »
The culmination of all one’s good traits is expressed in the trait of doing kindness for others, and it is the correct trait that rises above all the others.

It is a pious trait and a wise path for a person to be merciful and pursue righteousness, and not be overbearing, even towards one’s subordinates. One should not pain them or cause them trouble. The early righteous ones would give their servants a portion of every food they would eat, and would feed their animals and servants before they themselves began to eat. This behavior is in accordance with the verse, “Indeed, as the eyes of servants are turned to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so are our eyes turned to the Lord our God, until He will be gracious to us. Be gracious to us, Lord, be gracious to us ...” (Psalms 123:2-3) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 126)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #235 on: January 14, 2019, 07:11:36 AM »
One should not yell or get angry at one’s subordinates, but should rather speak with them gently and listen to their grievances. Job strived to act in this manner – as it says, “If I ever spurned justice for my servants and maid servants when they contended with me; then what could I do when God would rise up [to examine my ways], and when He would make an accounting of me, what could I answer Him? Did not the One Who made me in the womb make him [my servant] too, and did not One form us both in the womb?” (Job 31:13-15) This surely applies to one’s interaction with other people, and it reflects a trait of God that we should emulate – as it says, “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.” (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 126)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #236 on: January 15, 2019, 08:37:42 AM »
The sages said, “Similar to the measure that one acts, it is measured to him;” i.e., in the same way a person acts in his own wrongdoings, and in the way he acts toward others, God acts correspondingly toward him. This is said regarding a person’s wrong behavior, and it applies even more so to the corrects behavior of a pious and wise person. One who has mercy on others will receive mercy from God; one who forgives and pardons others will also receive God’s forgiveness and pardon; and one who judges others favorably will be judged favorably. This will be granted to him, measure for measure, even if he retains some wrong tendencies. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 128)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #237 on: January 16, 2019, 05:54:20 AM »
The sages taught, “One is obligated to say a blessing [to God] over bad tidings, just as he says a blessing over good tidings.” For the truth is that whatever God does in the world is good – as it says, “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that evil and good emanate?” (Lamentations 3:38) This means that God is always in full control and everything is from Him, and no evil happens. Rather, our perception of an event as bad is only based on our shortsightedness and limited understanding. The truth is that what we perceive as a bad event is in essence a kindness from God, and it is such a powerful good that it cannot be openly revealed, for it cannot yet be grasped by the severely limited ability and frame of reference of our human minds. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 130)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #238 on: January 17, 2019, 06:43:44 AM »
The general nature of tests from God can be divided into two categories: a test of attraction to spiritual evil (a temptation to sin), or a test of physical hardship:

1.A test of spiritual evil comes from one’s evil inclination, which endeavors to make a person sin. Included in this category are a person’s challenges from seeing other individuals sinning, or seeing his general society being engaged in forbidden activities. One is drawn to be like them and joined with them by acting in concert with their sinful ways.

Part of this test comes from the questions: “Why are evil people successful? Why does God hide His face from showing truth and justice in the world? Why does He not grant success to righteous people, or punish and hinder the evildoers?”

Another part of this test is that many people endeavor to attain much honor and riches, yet they do not know how to use these things for good and correct purposes; instead, they use them for negative ends. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 130)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #239 on: January 18, 2019, 08:19:34 AM »
2.One can be tested by challenges in life – the hardships of earning a livelihood, or physical problems or loss of loved ones, or natural disasters, or any other types of tribulations that come upon people. These are all difficult tests, and the question arises in the person’s heart: “Why is this happening to me?”

When a person has difficulty during a challenge, it may go against his nature to stand strong in his faith and trust in the Creator, and at the same time, his evil inclination brings him to question whether he is going in a correct path or not in his service of God. Furthermore, when one’s faculties are weakened by troubles, it is hard to be strong-minded. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 130-131)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #240 on: January 19, 2019, 04:34:57 AM »
The Godly purpose in any of the abovementioned tests is to uplift the person. Who is greater example for us than Abraham? He was the first and only person to discover the One True God completely on his own. He then contended for many years against all the world’s idolatrous societies to convince them that there is only one God who directs everything, and that all idols and idol worship are false. Yet this righteous and pious person was tested by God with ten harsh challenges. Abraham withstood them all, and with this God showed how greatly he loved Him. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 131)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #241 on: January 20, 2019, 06:33:05 AM »
A person may wrongly think, “Perhaps I am not capable and fitting to do the service which God commands for me, and therefore God is afflicting me with hardships.” The person should instead ask, “If God Himself testified in the Torah about Abraham’s right and correct path and pureness of heart, then why did he receive these ten bitter and harsh tests?”

Rather, through being tested, Abraham reached much loftier spiritual levels than he could have reached on his own. Because of God’s love for Abraham, He tested him and raised him above his worldly limitations and natural traits, through leading him to refine his conduct in the face of great adversity. God did this to demonstrate to Abraham and the people of all subsequent generations, how true were his faith and trust and his commitment to following the One God’s instructions in all of his ways. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 131)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #242 on: January 21, 2019, 08:58:07 AM »
Maimonides identified Abraham’s ten tests as the following difficulties that he faced (his name was Abram until God changed it to Abraham in Genesis 17:5):

1. God’s command to Abram to leave his homeland and travel to sojourn in another country, without telling him where that would be, as God said to him, “Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.”(Genesis 12:1)

2. The famine that occurred in the Land of Canaan when he arrived there – as it says, “And there was a famine in the land, and Abram descended to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.”(Genesis 12:10) This happened despite the fact that God had promised him, “And I will make you into a great nation...”(Genesis 12:2) He was faced with the exact opposite of what God had told him – he became impoverished and afflicted by the famine in the land that God led him to, and this was an immense test. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 131-132)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 09:32:29 AM by Noachide »

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #243 on: January 22, 2019, 07:20:24 AM »
3. The oppression he suffered from the Egyptians when they took his wife Sarai (whom God later renamed as Sarah) and brought her to the pharaoh. (Genesis 12:15)

4. His battle with the armies of the four kings who kidnapped his nephew Lot. (Genesis 14:14-15)

5. Heeding Sarai’s instructions to take her handmaid Hagar as a second wife, after Sarai’s sterility continued, (Genesis 16:1-3) even though he was promised by God that he would have a child in his old age. (Genesis 15:4)

6. His circumcision at the old age of 99, which God commanded him to do. (Genesis 17:24)

7. The oppression he suffered when Abimelech, the Philistine king of Gerar, took Sarah away from him. (Genesis 20:2) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 132)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #244 on: January 23, 2019, 05:23:54 AM »
8. Being impelled by God to follow his wife Sarah’s instructions to send away his concubine Hagar into the desert, along with Ishmael, his son whom he had with her. (Genesis 21:10-12)

9. Being instructed by God at that time to distance himself from Ishmael, despite his fatherly love for him – as God commanded him, “Do not be distressed over the lad ...”(Genesis 21:12) The preceding verse testifies how disturbing this matter was to Abraham (“The matter greatly distressed Abraham, regarding his son”), yet he still followed Sarah’s instructions as God told him to do, and expelled Hagar and Ishmael.

10. Swiftly following God’s request that he offer Isaac, his most beloved son, as a sacrifice to Him. (Genesis 22:1-10) (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 133)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #245 on: January 24, 2019, 07:01:15 AM »
One should contemplate that as much as Abraham was pious and trusted God, and had faith in Him, he was still tested repeatedly by such difficult tests as these, which the average person would have no power to withstand. Why did God test him this way, so many times? It was because He wanted to demonstrate His love for Abraham. He wanted to show all people (and Abraham himself as well) how close he was to God, to the extent that he cleaved to God with all his might under difficult circumstances. Abraham did not weigh any nor all of his tribulations and challenging experiences – whatever they were – against his faith and trust in God. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 133)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #246 on: January 25, 2019, 05:53:18 AM »
A trouble that comes upon a community results from their sins as a community. For example, the community in general may be accepting of a particular serious sin or immoral behavior that many of the people there commit regularly as their normal way of acting. Some examples in the Hebrew Bible are: the generations of the Flood and the Tower of Babel; the metropolis around Sodom in the days of Abraham; the city of Nineveh in the days of the prophet Jonah; and the Land of Israel in the days of the prophet Joel. If the people admit their wrongdoing, stop the sinful behavior that caused this, and collectively repent, they will be forgiven and the trouble will be averted, as it happened for the people of Nineveh. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 134-135)


Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #247 on: January 26, 2019, 06:02:45 AM »
This is not the same as in the case of trouble that occurs to an individual. If it is God’s will and wisdom that an individual person is to receive distress, then if he prays and repents and fixes his ways – and especially if other individuals also pray for God to help this person – then it is possible that God in His mercy will remove the trouble. But it is also possible that God in His wisdom made it a firm decree that will not be removed, even if this person prays and repents to the utmost of his (limited) ability. Even if his prayer is not fully granted, God may ease his trouble what it would have been otherwise. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 135)

Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #248 on: January 27, 2019, 06:24:35 AM »
Regardless, it is still obligatory to endeavor to better one’s ways, repent, and pray to God to be saved from the distress , because in either case, the person needs to draw closer to God through all of that Divine service for his own benefit. The merit he earns from doing this will bring him a reward from God, either during his physical life or in his spiritual afterlife. At the same time, by enduring his troubles with faith that it is all for the best, they will provide an amount of atonement for his sins. It is a fundamental principle that trouble is administered by God to cleanse a person’s soul, and although it is temporary painful, this knowledge itself should help the person to endure the pain and remain thankful to God for the blessings that he has. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 135)


Offline Noachide

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Re: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge
« Reply #249 on: January 28, 2019, 06:51:41 AM »
On a very simple level, one can understand this concept based on an analogy with the beneficial function of physical pain that accompanies an injury or illness. If a person did not feel pain, he would not know that he was injured or sick, and he would not realize that he must act as soon as possible to get the proper treatment or begin a healthier lifestyle, in order to preserve his life and health. The purpose of God’s creation of the bodily function of feeling pain is not for the sake of the pain itself, God forbid, and not so that it should continue without relief. Rather, it is the body’s “alarm system” to notify the person that his body needs healing. Likewise, troubles and pain also serve as a spiritual “alarm system” to alert the person to honestly examine and improve his ways, and that God is desiring for the person to come closer to Him with faith and repentance. (Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and Dr. Michael Schulman, Ask Noah International, 2017, p 135-136)