I shall inquire into the grammatical form of every word of the Torah and explain it to the best of my knowledge.
The first verses of Genesis should be expressed thus: "When in the beginning God decreed the formation of the heaven and the earth, the earth was void and without form." One can not expect to find in a book intended to be a moral guide to a whole people metaphysical problems which could only be understood by a few. The first verse of Genesis points to that heaven and that earth which are visible to the eye of everyone, reminding the reader that all this had once been a shapeless mass.
I think that the Law is for all, not for one alone; and the nature of the future world could not be understood by one out of a thousand.
Everything under the sun is composed of four elements, from which all things come forth, and to which all return. These elements are fire, air, water, and earth. The four elements are naturally stationary, and in case of having been set in motion they return to the state they were in before. They (that is, "matter") are indestructible.
At the time of the beginning (Gen. i. 1) earth was covered with water; over the water was air; and over the air, fire. By the action of the created light, some of the water arose. Vapor was uplifted from the earth by the luminaries. The water being held on high as clouds and snow; that which was left below no longer covered the whole earth. When the light shines with intensity upon the earth, and the air over it is without water, the rays of the light are reflected and the visible sky is formed.
The several separate created beings could but vainly attempt to create an elementary substance or to annihilate it
so it should cease to exist. All their works are nothing but images, forms, and accidentia; they separate those things which are joined, and join those which are separate; they set in motion that which rests, and give rest to that which moves. Human work is therefore vain and void.
If man is vanity, how much more so are his works, which are an accident to him; how far more so are his thoughts, which are as an accident of an accident.
Whatever is made by a creature is not eternal. The works of God are all general and immortal.
The time when an event is to take place is predetermined; and when that time approaches the person concerned, willing or no, moves in the direction of that which has been prepared for him. He moves in accordance with the motions of the constellation of his nativity.
Know that all the plants and all that lives on earth, the birds, cattle, beasts, creeping things, and human beings, are dependent on the living stars above.
The servitors of God (angels) can not alter their way or transgress the Law given by the Lord. The hosts of heaven (stars) and all the lower creatures, according to their nature, derive their existence from those servitors, and are therefore unable to do either good or evil. The worshiper of the heavenly bodies gains no advantage from such a worship; for whatever is predestined to him according to the stars of his nativity, that will happen to him without change.
A destitute philosopher may derive contentment from his wisdom, and has not to fret because of his poverty, seeing that his destiny was fixed at the creation of the world--a fact obvious to astrologers.
God sustains the middle world (the stars and visible heaven) by his power and that of his holy angels, who dwell in The superior world.
Wise men in considering the genera (classes of beings), which are immortal--for only individuals perish--have found them like the shadow of a tree over running water.
Although I can not count the individuals the genera are eternal, definite, and of a fixed number.
Unity existed before any numbers, and is in one point of view the cause of all numbers; and in another it is the total of the whole series of numbers. Admitting of no increase or decrease, it is the cause of all addition and subtraction; admitting of no multiplication or division, it is the cause of both. Such a unity is the upper world (of God) in its relation to the inferior worlds; it is incorporeal and is called the appearance of the divine glory. The upper world is subject to no change, whether in substance or relation; and it is limited neither by time nor by place.
God, called the One, is the creator of everything, and he is everything. This name of God signifies the One that is self-existing, requiring no other cause for his existence. And if it be considered that from an arithmetical point of view one is the beginning of all numbers, and that all of them are composed of units, it will be found that this is the One which at the same time is the whole.
Considering it philosophically we know that in Hebrew speech is called "lips" because it apparently comes from the lips; the soul of man is called "heart" although the heart is a body and soul is incorporeal, because the heart is its principal seat. Similarly God is designated "angels" (elohim) because all the work of God is done by the angels.
A man devoting himself to science, which is as a ladder leading to the place of his wishes, finds the work of God displayed in minerals, plants, animals, and in the body of man himself; and he ascertains the natural functions of each member and the reason of its form. Thus he advances at length to study the nature of the spheres, which show the work of God in the stationary world; and from the ways of the Lord the wise man obtains a knowledge of the Lord himself.
The soul of man has been brought hither in order to cause it to see--to see the writing of God.
The soul of every man is called "lonely" because it is separated, during its union with the human body, from the universal soul, into which it is again received when it departs from its universal body.
A breath of the same nature is allotted unto man and unto beast, by which the creature lives and perceives in this world; and as the one die, so also dies the other, except the heavenly portion by which man is separated from the beast.
Man has not been created for the mere purpose of acquiring wealth and of building houses, which he is obliged to leave to others while he himself goes to dwell below the surface of the earth.
He who knows the Lord will never destroy, but always build up and establish.
Wisdom of every kind gives life to its owner. There are many kinds of wisdom, and they are all like the steps of it ladder leading up to true wisdom.
The object and aim of all divine commands is to love God truly, and to cleave to him. This can not be completely attained without a knowledge of the works of the Lord. No one can arrive at a knowledge of the Lord without knowing his own soul, his own mind, and body; for what wisdom can he possess who does not know himself?
Women generally do what they desire, without considering the consequences.
As long as the bodily desires are strong, the soul is weak and powerless against them, because they are supported by the body and all its powers. Hence those who only think of eating and drinking will never be wise. By the alliance of the intellect with the animal spirit (sensitiveness) the desires are subordinated, and the eyes of the soul are opened a little so as to comprehend the lower forms of knowledge. But the soul is not yet prepared for pure knowledge, on account of the animal soul which still seeks dominion and produces all kinds of passion. Therefore after the first victory it is necessary that the soul should devote itself to wisdom.