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"The Way of G-d"


It is with great awe and trepidation that we begin our presentation of "The Way of G-d". After all, what this work is, is a laying out cold and clear, layer by layer, the very fundamental principles of the universe, and the very things expected of us all as a consequence of them. But let's begin nonetheless.

The truth is, we really won't be beginning at the very top of the work-- with Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto's introduction. Because it's a work unto itself, and it serves as an introduction to the science of logic. With G-d's help we'll present it at a later time, as a treat. Simply because we'd like to jump into the waters of "The Ways of G-d" right off.

First a rule or two. We'll be referring to our author as "Ramchal", which is an acronym for his full name, RAbbi Moshe CHAim Luzzatto. And we'll be paraphrasing the work rather than translating it, both because my teacher, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (of blessed memory), already did such a masterful job of it; and also to save space. The truth be known, I'll be using different terms than the ones Rabbi Kaplan used, but the astute reader will have no trouble following along.

"The Way of G-d" is divided into four main sections:

  1. The Fundamental Principles of Reality
  2. Divine Providence
  3. The Soul, Inspiration, Prophecy, and the Supernatural
  4. Divine Service.

It's not hard to notice that we're going to be touching upon some very heady, very deep, very profound ideas in the course of our analyses. But let's go even further, and break these main sections down into their sub-headings.

"The Fundamental Principles of Reality" encompasses:

  1. The Creator
  2. The purpose of creation
  3. Mankind
  4. Human Responsibility
  5. The spiritual realm

"Divine Providence" encompasses:
  1. Divine Providence in general
  2. Mankind in this world
  3. Personal providence
  4. Israel and the other nations
  5. How Divine Providence works
  6. The sequel of Divine Providence
  7. The influence of the stars
  8. The details of Divine Providence

"The Soul, Inspiration, Prophecy, and the Supernatural" encompasses

  1. The soul and its influence
  2. Theurgy (i.e., the art of affecting change in the universe by means of Divine names and occultism)
  3. Inspiration and prophecy
  4. The prophetic experience
  5. Moses as a prophet

And "Divine Service" encompasses

  1. Serving G-d in general
  2. Torah study
  3. The love and fear of G-d
  4. Sh'ma Yisroel and its blessings
  5. Prayer
  6. The sequence of the day
  7. Intermittent observances
  8. Seasonal mitzvot
  9. Incidental Observances and blessings

Obviously, then, you and I have our work cut out for us. And we're in for a good time!

We've thus offered quite a mouthful, and we're ready to end for now. But first notice our sequence: we go from *G-d's Being* and what that implies ("The Fundamental Principles of Reality"), to *the way G-d interacts with us* in the world ("Divine Providence"), to the mechanisms within us and the universe that *allow us to interact with Him* (both "The Soul, Inspiration, Prophecy, and the Supernatural" and "Divine Service").

May G-d grant us all the wherewithal to grasp what we'll be taking in, and to serve Him better as a consequence.

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