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18

The Mesillas Yesharim is certainly one of the most influential and popular seforim ever written. It is considered a basic text in most yeshivos and is widely studied by Jews throughout the world (both in the original language and in translation). Before we can address the reasons for the immense popularity of this work, we first need to address one of the ...


12

This is a rather famous issue, so much so that Rabbeinu Bachya (1100's) already lists five answers to this question. Later, Abarbanel lists 7 (in his book Tzedek Olamim), and the Kli Yakar (to Vayikra 26:12) collects 9 answers. There are even more floating around Jewish literature (especially in kabbalah and chassidus), but I think that these will suffice ...


8

The Ramchal's beardless face is referenced in several letters among the Italian rabbinic communities of the 18th century, all of which are part of the general controversy that escalated after the Ramchal's assertion of learning through a maggid and his teachings of kabbalah, both activities that led some to suspect him of being a secret follower of Shabbetai ...


8

The entire sefer can be read here for free (as Otzar HaChochmah now allows up to 150 pages of free viewing in each sefer, and this one is less than 150 pages). On p. 5 it says the person who published the sefer (whom I'll call the publisher) expresses their thanks to the Jewish Theological Seminary for providing access to the manuscript, which is in their ...


7

It looks like the first is שליטתו - His control, and the second is מציאותו - His “Existence”.


6

In the ספר הכללים which can be found in the back of most editions of דעת תבונות (and is the "basis" of Daas Tevunos), in siman ב, the Ramchal writes: הצמצום הוא מה שהאדון ב"ה כבש כביכול חוק טובו בבריאת נבראיו, שלא לעשותם שלימים אפילו לפי ערכם, כל שכן לפי ערכו Roughly translated: "Tzimtzum is that which Hashem restricted the nature of His complete ...


5

Included were Rabbis Yaakov Emden and Moshe Chagiz according to Graetz here and R. Yitzchak Pacifici (פאציפיקו) (the chief rabbi of Venice) as Graetz notes here. This page lists generally the Ashkenazi and Spanish rabbis of Germany, Venice, Poland, Holland, and Denmark as pronouncing the ban. It should be noted that the ban was actually promulgated; not ...


4

Many great Tzadikim have praised the Mesilas Yesharim and have said that all they attained was due to learning from it. This includes the Vilna Gaon, Bnei Yissochor, Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, Koznitzer Maggid, and the Opter Maggid. (See here.) The fact that it was accepted by all, Misnagdim and Chasidim, attests to the greatness of this sefer.


4

I was a bit confused by your question because 'shitah' is usually a term used in learning halakhah but Derekh Hashem isn't a book of halakhah, i.e., what to do, but rather a presentation of a conceptual framework for understanding religion and the world. As far as the sources of the ideas: they come in large part out the Ramhal's engagement with the writings ...


4

Mesilas Yesharim is written as steps in a ladder. Meaning, you have to work on every attribute before going on to the next and when you do, you reach a new level. In regard to the order of learning his other seforim I say as follows. In the introduction to Mesillas Yesharim, the Ramchal talks a lot about Olam Haba as mans goal. In Derech Hashem, he goes(...


4

Three possibilities with the publishers' blurbs. Way of God: Derech Hashem (Torah Classics Library) (English and Hebrew Edition) Hardcover – November 1, 1981 by Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Author), Aryeh Kaplan (Translator) Explores Divine regulation of the world. With Rabbi Yosef Begun's marginal notes. Vowelized, facing Hebrew and English texts. ...


4

In Derech Hashem 1:2, the Ramchal provides the following explanation: ובהיותו הוא לבדו יתברך הטוב האמיתי, לא יסתפק חפצו הטוב אלא בהיותו מהנה לזולתו בטוב ההוא עצמו שהוא בו יתברך מצד עצמו, שהוא הטוב השלם והאמיתי. והנה מצד אחר, הטוב הזה אי אפשר שיימצא אלא בו. על כן גזרה חכמתו, שמציאות ההטבה האמיתית הזאת יהיה במה שיינתן מקום לברואים לשיתדבקו בו יתברך באותו ...


4

This sefer is available on the Otzar Hachochmah program. You can also view the sefer here: https://www.otzar.org/wotzar/book.aspx?53447 The first 40 pages are available for viewing for free. Beyond that you need to pay...


4

This is the subject of R. Betzalel Naor's work, Mahol la-Tsaddikim, available here. From the description of the book on the website: Mahol la-Tsaddikim/Dance Circle for the Righteous explores the divine design in the creation of the universe. Although Maimonides (Guide of the Perplexed) shied away from this conversation, deeming the question ...


3

The Ramchal answers this question himself in his other book, Daas Tevunos, where he says that in order to be the most pleasurable, the 'good' has to be the most God-like. God Himself didn't have His nature given to Him by an external force, but rather it was a natural outgrowth of his existence. Therefore, a good that is given to a person by an external ...


3

R' Dovid Miller, who has served as Mashgiach Ruchani of Yeshiva University, has two recorded shiur series on Derech Hashem up on YUTorah.org, one from 2005, and one from 2012. (Click on "Collections," and then find-in-page for "Derech Hashem" to find these two collections.) They comprise 82 and 97 shiurim, respectively, and a spot-check indicates that the ...


3

I think the passage YEZ quoted is the best passage. For additional material, the entry צמצום in the encyclopedia אספקלריא collects several more passages from the writings of the Ramhal on the topic. There are different aspects to the Tzimtzum for the Ramhal: there is the aspect of our existence not being perfect, as related in that passage quoted by YEZ; ...


3

The Zohar recommends examining one's deeds and repenting every night before going to sleep (Korach 178a): הא אוקמו דבכל לילא ולילא, עד לא ישכב ועד לא נאים בעי בר נש למיעבד חושבנא מעובדוי דעבד כל ההוא יומא ויתב מנייהי ויבעי עלייהו רחמי This is cited approvingly by poskim such as the Mateh Moshe (Amud Ha'avoda §829): יעשה כדעת הזוהר וישב קודם שישכב ...


3

This opinion is rejected as directed by material passions (as described at the end of this post.). The "linear version" of Mesilat Yesharim summarized it in one statement: שתכלית בריאת האדם הוא למצבו בעולם הזה. ‏ that the purpose of creation of man is its situation in this world. This is the main opposition between the Ramchal's opinion and this ...


3

Your question is essentially how the Mesilat Yesharim can say a person should always aspire towards the reward of the World to Come, against the other sources which say a person shouldn't serve God in order to merit the World to Come. The Ramchal himself explains clearly (in Mesilat Yesharim chapter 19) that the ideal isn't the reward in the World to Come, ...


3

The first source saying that Ramchal “did not let his beard grow” was his early teacher and later critic Rabbi Yosef Ergas. See here for a translation of the quote: https://books.google.com/books?id=t99ZDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT16&lpg=PT16&dq=ramchal+ergas+beard&source=bl&ots=OKjh_tt6fn&sig=WexVimwXrr42iDdVCt_JlPjczps&hl=en&sa=X&ved=...


2

Sefer Ohr Olam (Mechon Ramchal Yerushalayim) says that on the 17th of Shevat 5491 the Ramchal established the "Chabura Kadisha". Unfortunately, I don't know what that is or why it was deemed so significant as to warrant a holiday to celebrate its founding.


2

I think it's popularity and endorsement by the Rabbis is greatly due to two factors. it shows each person exactly where he is in the road map of spiritual progress and also who are the real tzadikim and who are not (yet) tzadikim. it describes the correct order to take in the spiritual journey. This latter point is also extremely important. There is a ...


2

There is a story printed in Rabbi Zevin's Sippurei Chassidim (translated by Artscroll as "A Treasury of Chassidic Tales"). I haven't read it in a while, so I don't remember all the details, but here's what I do remember: The son of one of the Rebbeim (it might have been Ger or Belz) became Rebbe when his predecessor passed away. Some of the ...


2

'To bestow goodness'; in order for men to enjoy it, by enjoying it this gives pleasure. The second question is dealt with by Derech Hashem in the first section chapter 2. In short what he says is that in order to achieve or have something in totality, one must be the owner of that thing. G-d alone is perfect, not lacking anything and is in essence this way....


2

The Ramchal addresses this issue in Derech Hashem (among other places). He explains that the ultimate good is Hashem Himself, and therefore connecting to Hashem and being like Hashem is the ultimate experience of good. A central element of Hashem's perfection is that He was not given His perfection by an external source, but rather His perfection is ...


2

Here you go... http://torah.org/learning/ramchal/archives.html Very loose translation into English. But it will give you the idea of the text. A better idea would be to purchase the Aryeh Kaplan translation. It's fantastic and like with everything he did, the footnotes are priceless. http://www.amazon.com/Way-God-Classics-Library-English/dp/087306769X


2

In R Yirmeyahu Bindman's biography of the Ramchal (from 1995), he writes indeed that Most of the Ramchal's works were not published in his lifetime but circulated in manuscript or small, privately printed editions. [...] Manuscript material that remains unpublished has recently been gathered together [...] but some items are still uncompiled. He then ...


2

The Ramchal was born 31 years after the death of Shabbtai Zvi, a false Messiah, who turned many Jews away from religion. As such the rabbanim in Italy, who misunderstood some of the Ramchal's writings for messianic, were very afraid of "another Shabbtai Zvi story" and threatened him with excommunication unless he stopped writing. The Ramchal agreed to stop ...


2

As I pointed out here, the Rambam you cite as being against worship for the sake of Olam Haba is contradicted by what he writes in several other places, including the immediately preceding halacha. Hilchos Teshuva 9:2 ומפני זה נתאוו כל ישראל נביאיהם וחכמיהם לימות המשיח כדי שינוחו ממלכיות שאינן מניחות להן לעסוק בתורה ובמצות כהוגן וימצאו להם מרגוע וירבו ...


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