Maamar HaIkarim by R. M.Ch. Luzzatto Chapter 6 – The Divine Providence


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Translated by Ralph Anzarouth and an anonymous friend

6. The Divine Providence

The blessed Lord is continually supervising all his creatures, and He sustains and directs them according to the objective for which He created them.

And since He singled out mankind to receive reward and punishment according to its deeds as we described above, the supervision over it is different from the supervision of other species. This is due to the fact that the object of the supervision over the other species is to sustain each individual species subject to the rules and limitations required by the blessed One. Therefore, He supervises over the specific needs of each species, insofar as they affect the species as a whole, and not as individuals, since the purpose of each of them is the subsistence of the entire species. On the other hand, each individual human being receives his own special Divine Providence, apart from the supervision accorded to the whole of mankind. And the deeds of each individual will be judged separately and individual decrees will be decreed upon him, according to his particular circumstances.

It is necessary to bear in mind that man's activities are divided into two classes: the one involves all actions which are for him a merit or the opposite; namely that he performs with them a [divine] precept or a transgression. The second category involves all other actions, which do not fall into the first category, since they are concerned neither with precepts nor with transgressions.

And everything pertaining to a precept or a transgression, however it may be, is totally in the hands of man, and he is subject to no coercion at all. The Supreme Judge observes all these actions in order to evaluate them correctly and to decree accordingly the appropriate reward or punishment. And regarding all those actions which are neither precepts nor transgressions, man is like all other species in that everything which happens to him is imposed upon him from above: whether this be for preserving his species or to bestow on him reward or punishment as appropriate.

And the Holy, blessed be He, oversees everything, rules on everything, and passes all the decrees. The angels are His servants, each of which is appointed to set in motion everything within its special limits, and to bring about man's just desserts, as we described above.

It is necessary to bear in mind that even though the Lord blessed be He is truly omniscient, and nothing escapes His notice, and no new information is new to Him, He did not base His Divine Providence and His supreme judgement over His world upon this foundation. Instead, [He based it] upon the order of the judgement that He desired, in a form similar to the norms of earthly royalty, and He deliberates His judgements in courts composed of angels, with witnesses to testify on the matters and prosecutors to prove guilt, and defense counsel to prove innocence. And all these are angels whose task is as described above: some of them to give testimony on what happens in the world, others to prosecute and defend, and the final judgement is passed in accordance with absolute justice.

Original text in Hebrew
Nostra traduzione in italiano - Our translation into Italian