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On Divine Providence: From “The Guide for the Perplexed” by Maimonides (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

2022-09-14
Език:English
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Maimonides, also known as Rambam, or Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, was a notable medieval Jewish philosopher, astronomer, physician, and intellectual figure. Famous works by Maimonides include “Mishneh Torah,” a commentary on the Talmud, and “The Guide for the Perplexed,” philosophical discussions regarding theological matters. Today, we would like to read excerpts from Part 3, Chapters 17 and 18, in Rabbi Moses ben Maimon’s book, “The Guide for the Perplexed,” regarding Divine Providence.

“It is only in this species that the incidents in the existence of the individual beings, their good and evil fortunes, are the result of justice, in accordance with the words, ‘For all His ways are judgment.’ Divine Providence is connected with Divine intellectual influence, and the same beings which are benefited by the latter so as to become intellectual, and to comprehend things comprehensible to rational beings, are also under the control of Divine Providence, which examines all their deeds in order to reward or punish them.”

“It is clearly expressed in many Scriptural passages that God provides for all men, and controls all their deeds — for example, ‘He fashions their hearts alike, He considers all their works’; ‘For Thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men, to give every one according to his ways. Again: ‘For His eyes are upon the ways of man, and He sees all his goings.’”

“It was the Will of God, it is the decree of His Wisdom, or it is in accordance with the laws of Nature. The same answers apply to the first question. Understand thoroughly my theory, that I do not ascribe to God ignorance of anything or any kind of weakness; I hold that Divine Providence is related and closely connected with the intellect, because Providence can only proceed from an intelligent being, from a being that is itself the most perfect Intellect.”

“Hence it follows, that the greater the share is which a person has obtained of this Divine influence, on account of both his physical predisposition and his training, the greater must also be the effect of Divine Providence upon him, for the action of Divine Providence is proportional to the endowment of intellect, as has been mentioned above. The relation of Divine Providence is therefore not the same to all men; the greater the human perfection a person has attained, the greater the benefit he derives from Divine Providence.”
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