Essay on Fundamentals (Maamar HaIkarim) by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal) - Chapter 1 - The Blessed Creator


Translated by Ralph Anzarouth and an anonymous friend

What follows is the complete translation into English of the 10 chapters of the book "Maamar Ha-Ikarim" (sometimes called in English "Essay on Fundamentals"), written by Rabbi Moshe Haim Luzzatto. This work illustrates with great clarity the basic principles of the Jewish faith. Due to their importance, we recommend that every Jew studies them with deep attention and care.

Maamar Haikarim - R. Moshe Chayim Luzzatto:
Chap.1 The Blessed Creator
Chap.2 The Spiritual Creatures
Chap.3 Torah and Precepts
Chap.4 The Reward
Chap.5 Gan Eden and Gehinom
Chap.6 The Divine Providence
Chap.7 Concerning Prophecy
Chap.8 Redemption (Gheulah)
Chap.9 Miracles (Nissim)
Chap.10 Oral Law and Talmud

1. About the Blessed Creator

The first concept which you must understand is that there is one supreme being which created all beings as and when He wished and rules over them and sustains them at will and governs over them with absolute authority. This is the Almighty, blessed be His name.

This blessed Being is perfect and flawless in every respect. He is not dependent or influenced by any other being. He is without beginning or end, in other words, there was never a time when He did not exist, and He will never cease to exist, but always was and always will be, and His nonexistence is totally impossible. He is the source of all beings but He Himself is without any source and all existence is dependent on Him.

Furthermore, this Being, blessed be His Name, is complete and indivisible and his absolute integrity bears no additions of any kind. He is without any body or form and He is beyond any limitation or definition, any relationship or laws of nature.

And most importantly, you must bear in mind that the verification of His essence and existence is beyond our grasp; it cannot be compared to any concept in creation and He is beyond human comprehension and imagination. No words or titles are truly fitting for Him, so when we speak about Him, we make use of words and descriptions [from human experience] in order to be able to grasp what we need to understand about His blessed essence. Since our vocabulary can relate only to [our experience] of the created world, and this is our only form of expression, we should always realise and bear in mind that when describing or speaking about Him, [our words] are inadequate, since they have been borrowed [from our human language and experience], as we have no other [form of expression].