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Chovos Halevavos Home

» Author's Introduction
» #1 Unity of God
» #2 Gate of Examination
» #3 Service of God
» #4 Gate of Trust
» #5 Wholehearted Devotion
» #6 Gate of Submission
» #7 Gate of Repentance
» #8 Spiritual Accounting
» #9 Gate of Abstinence
» #10 Love of God
» mobile version

 

 
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Sfarim

** Chovos HaLevavos - Duties of the Heart **

by Rabeinu Bachya ibn Paquda zt'l
free english translation


Note: If one has time to read only one of the gates, I recommend #4, the Gate of Trust in God. But Gates 1-3 are the heart of the entire book.

Original Hebrew With Commentaries Gates 1-4 | Gates 5-10from hebrewbooks.org
Original Hebrew OCR Text Gates 1-10formatted html
~~~~~~ English Translation ~~~~~~
Letter of Approbation by Rabbi Mordechai Kornfeld
 
Author's Introduction
   
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2014
#1 Shaar HaYichud - Unity of God revised
    introduction to God
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2017
#2 Shaar Bechina - Gate of Examination
    waking up. essential foundations.
English translation by Rabbi Moses Hyamson, New York, 1925
#3 Shaar Avodas HaElokim - Gate of Service of God
    more on waking up. more essential foundations.
English translation by Rabbi Moses Hyamson, New York, 1925
#4 Shaar HaBitachon - Gate of Trust in God
    the most necessary of all things in the service of G-d
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2014
#5 Shaar Yichud HaMaase - Gate of Devotion
    introduction to falsehood and the evil inclination
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2014
#6 Shaar HaKnia - Gate of Submission
    "the beginning and root of repentance"
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2014
#7 Shaar HaTeshuva- Gate of Repentance
    the conditions and requirements of repentance
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2014
#8 Shaar Cheshbon Hanefesh - Spiritual Accounting
    exercises for internalizing the book
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2014
#9 Shaar HaPerishus - Gate of Abstinence
    cultivating self control and total focus
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2014
#10 Shaar Ahavas Hashem - Gate of Love of God
    the ultimate goal of the book
English translation by Rabbi Yosef Sebag, Jerusalem 2014
Zip file of english translation of gates 1-10 in
pdf,text,html,epub for offline reading
last updated: Aug 12, 2019
Android App android app version for free download. This was made by a 3rd party who asked permission.

About the Translator: Rabbi Yosef Sebag studied in various yeshivas under great Torah scholars such as Rabbi Dov Shwartzman zt'l (~2 years), Rabbi Nachman Bulman zt'l, Rabbi Nissan Kaplan (~5 years). He also completed degrees in physics and electrical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was a research associate in nuclear physics for some time before heading off to yeshiva.

He says: While translating this, I heavily consulted with the out of print translation by Rabbi Moses Hyamson zt'l (former head Dayan and chief Rabbi of the British Empire between 1911 and 1913), which came to my possession on its own in a miraculous way.

The Chovos Halevavos is one of the earliest of the classic Jewish mussar (ethics) works. It was originally translated from Arabic by Chacham Yehuda ibn Tibon zt'l. The commentaries wrote that Chacham Tibon was a singular, master translator who was able to translate the book in such a way that the full depth and all the allusions to different facets and multiple interpretations were preserved, as Maimonides (who knew Arabic) wrote: "I recognized in your words that your heart plumbed the depths of the matter and uncovered the hidden secrets" (Masoret edition pg.58). As is known, the torah way is to condense volumes of information in very few words, carefully crafting ambiguities to allow for different allusions and interpretations, as the Talmud (Sanhedrin 34a) expounds the verse "Is not My word like fire, and like a hammer that shatters a rock into pieces?" (Jer.23:29) - "As the rock splits into many fragments, so one verse may convey many meanings."

For this reason, the hebrew is difficult to understand and was studied mainly by high-level torah scholars. I have translated select commentaries to help bring out some of its depth.

 

Links:
mp3 Classes by Rabbi Ezriel Tauber
mp3 Classes by Rabbi Avraham Chaim Feuer
• see also audio by Rabbi Avigdor Miller who was a living example of the teachings of the book. sample audio available here


Progress Log:
  • 2018-01-23 - fixed display error in PDFs
  • 2018-01-01 - improved/corrected Gate #1 (major update)
  • 2017-12-14 - improved/corrected Gates 5 and 7 (major update)
  • 2017-11-24 - improved/corrected Gate#6 (major update)
  • 2017-11-8 - paperback version of Gate#4 and Gate#8 available on amazon
  • 2017-10-23 - improved/corrected Gate#9 (major update)
  • 2017-9-18 - added Matanas Chelko commentary by Rabbi Matityahu Solomon to Gate #8
  • 2016-4-30 - pause to work on Path of the Just
  • 2015-3-20 - added Matanas Chelko commentary by Rabbi Matityahu Solomon to Gate #2