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(Mid- 11th century). Philosopher and dayan (rabbinical judge) of Saragossa, Spain, Ibn Pakuda is best known for his classic book on Jewish ethics, Hovot ha-Levavot (Duties of the Heart). Little is known about his life, except that he was deeply learned and well acquainted with both Arabic and Jewish philosophical and scientific writing. In his work he urges humans to love and accept God with their hearts. Yet one must also exercise his reason in order to understand his obligations in this world. Ibn Pakuda believes that gratitude to God for His marvelous universe requires us to live ethically. Ibn Pakuda also wrote several beautiful hymns and poems; especially noteworthy is the Admonition to his soul that begins with the verse from the Psalms, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

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