Derech HaShem (The "Way of the Name") is a philosophical text written in the early 1740s by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. It is considered one of the quintessential handbooks of Jewish thought.

The text covers a vast gamut of philosophical topics in the vast spectrum of classical Judaism's outlook on the world. These topics include the purpose of creation, the Creator, human responsibility, the spiritual realms, providence, Israel and the nations, astrology, the human soul, theurgy, prophecy, the study of Torah, prayer, and the function of mitzvah observance. All these are brought in a clear flowing structure that builds on previous topics.

Principles edit

The text systematizes the basic principles of Jewish belief regarding the existence of God, God's purpose in creation, and the logical consequence of other concepts in Judaism. The reader is led from thought to idea, from idea to a logical whole of the structure of Jewish belief. One of its core assertions is that man was created for the purpose of earning closeness to the creator by struggling against evil inclinations.[1] According to Luzzatto, the world calls for mesiras nefesh in order to retain sanctity and overcome evil.[2] This is the concept interpreted as the "devotion to Hashem to the extent of total self-negation".[2] It, therefore, outlines ideals concerning daily living. For instance, it maintains that hashem increases self-esteem whereas dependence on others for sustenance diminishes it.[3]

Presented from a Kabbalistic perspective, yet presupposing no prior knowledge and without the use of Kabbalistic terminology, this work provides a foundation for understanding the worldview and ideas found in the throughout Jewish works on these topics.

The book is organized into four main sections: the general basis of all existence, God's Divine Providence and interface with Creation, prophecy and the Human soul, and practical religious observance.

References edit

  1. ^ Benson, Bruce Ellis; Putt, B. Keith (2017). Evil, Fallenness, and Finitude. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 74. ISBN 9783319570860.
  2. ^ a b Steinberg, Avraham (2006). The Year in Drashos: A Rabbi's Anthology of Contemporary Thoughts on the Weekly Parsha. New York: iUniverse. p. 8. ISBN 0595389678.
  3. ^ Reuven, Yisrael Ben (2014-11-19). Male and Female He Created Them: A Guide to Classical Torah Commentary on the Roles and Natures of Men and Women. Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 9781300312666.

External links edit