Tuesday, November 20, 2007

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Divine Providence : Free Will?

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

On my Conspiracy post, Yitz commented:

...I mentioned where we put our faith. Here at Mpaths, as far as I've read, you and Reb Nati have always counciled putting our faith in HaShem. If that is really what you encourage, then I wanted to understand how that squares with conspiracy theories? Even if there is a conspiracy, HaShem is allowing it, and even if there is a conspiracy, then through torah, tefillah, teshuvah and genuine emunah, we can make it clear to HaShem that He shouldn't let them achieve their goals.

Of course this is a misunderstanding of mine, but it is a misunderstanding of the material which you have presented to me over time, so I'm asking you to clarify when it is bitul Torah and mitzwoth to write to senators or MKs (and that kind of thing) instead of addressing our issues directly to HaShem, and when it is appropriate to intercede with human beings according to Torah values?

Note that this has nothing to do with pacifism. Whether I carry a gun is irrelevant, the question is: why do I carry the gun? Do I carry a gun because I think I can and will protect myself, or because HaShem commanded me to protect myself, and because I trust in His commandments, I know I will be able to protect myself?

More importantly, is there a danger that if I carry a gun, I will start to think that the gun is what keeps me safe, and not HaShem? Let's say I forget it at home one day, should I feel more or less scared? Should I look to do Teshuvah, or keep an eye to all possible items i could potentially use as weapons in the vicinity?

Aze Yofe' Sha'alot! What wonderful questions! This would be a much better topic for R. Nati to answer, however since he's offline for about another month, I'll do my best.

"HaKol Kol Yaakov", our strength is raising our voices to Hashem and our emunah in Hashem. Yet, lets discuss a practical real world example...

A man gets ill. His illness gets worse, his doctors tell him serious surgery is necessary, and it looks rather grim. Now, we know right from the Gemora that Hashem is the source of all healing. "A doctor is given permission to heal", or rather, the strength to heal. IF you really believe that, if you really can reach that level of emunah to understand that all is the hand of Hashem, then the shefah for the healing can come direct from Hashem OR via the doctor's knife. If the blessing of healing is supposed to come, it won't matter how, have emunah and tell the doctor to go away.

But what if you're not on that level. What if you can't literally view the world as all the hand of Hashem? Then you won't be able to receive the shefah directly, you must go via the intermediaries of the natural paths of this world.

To put it another way, if you can't directly connect with the Shem Havayah (Yud-Kay-Vav-Kay), then your only option is the Shem HaTeva (Elokim).

So the direct answer to your question is...if you're fully connected such that getting involved at those worldly details is indeed bittul Torah, then it is indeed bittul Torah and you should stay focused on the voice of Yaakov. If however, it's a choice of some other worldly activity or one that may have a positive effect via the natural path, then it's a mitzvah to devote ones time to doing so.

Reb Yaakov Nathan posted the following comment, in honor of the birthday and hilhula of the 2nd Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Mittler Rebbe, which ties right in here...

[The Mitteler Rebbe explains that] this does not represent a contradiction to the Baal Shem Tov's axiom that all created beings are controlled by particular Divine providence, for there are -- in general -- two types of Divine providence:

- 1. Hashgachah P'nimis -- Divine providence which is overtly revealed and is not hidden by the garments of nature. This is the type of providence which the Rambam maintains is dependent on the manner in which a person clings to G-d. Such providence is not granted to inanimate matter, plants, and animals, or to the wicked (in an individual manner. Instead, his providence involves the species as a whole);

- 2. Hashgachah Chitzonis -- Divine providence which is concealed and hidden within the garments of nature. Such providence exists with regard to every created being (as the Baal Shem Tov taught).

When a Jew does not fulfill G-d's will, Divine providence controls his fate in an external manner (chitzoniyus), and thus is enclothed in the garments of nature...

May we all be fully connected to Hashem and merit to see direct Hashgacha Pratit in our lives!

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