For more on this topic please see www.jwworkgroup.com and
For more on this topic please see www.jwworkgroup.com and
What mitzvah is it that we are doing when we choose to have compassion on Hashem over our natural urges?
According to the Rambam, it is the mitzvah of working on our middos. But ultimately, working on our middos means to emulate Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy, for we are made in that image and we are sent here to serve Hashem by choosing to make a Kiddush Hashem by reflecting Him into the world over our natural urges. In so doing, we fulfill the mitzvah of loving Hashem as well as reflecting to Hashem our awe in how He has created the world, in order to give us benefit, for serving Him by emulating Him and keeping the Torah.
The Torah speaks a great deal about Hashem giving us a choice between the blessing and a curse, directing us to choose life!. When we respond to choose life, it is an act of emunah that proves our love and awe of Hashem!
When we bear the burden of our own confusion of mind at times when the natural world seeks to define happiness in terms of time and space worldly matters, we are doing the mitzvah of emulating Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy which Tomer Devorah tells us we are obligated to do lest these attributes disappear from the world. Happiness is a byproduct of learning Torah, praying fervently to Hashem, and emulating His 13 attributes of mercy. It is such a relief the first time we gain insight that having compassion on what seems like Hashem is in fact redeeming a part of the tzelem elokim He gives us. The part of our tzelem elokim trapped in darkness can literally heal us and help us live happier, more loving lives.
Asking Hashem to give us back the part of our tzelem elokim that is being drawn toward the negativity so that we can use it to reflect Him into the world releases the light from being pulled into the whirlpool and down the vortex of natural existence in the taivas and gaivas. In fervent prayer, we evoke the wisdom given to us from Torah, giving us a gifted and inspired way of releasing what we need to actually heal ourselves and bring light and blessing to the matter.
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day 6 Oct 3 shiur 2 see www.jwworkgroup.com
Chapter 4 Keilim Vessels
most people explain not because of their own merits but because of their indirect contribution as vessels for other servants of Hashem. We wll quote the Rambam from whom we can learn the scope of this concept. He writes in the introduction one could argue against what we say that Divine wisdom did not create anything for nothing, but everythiing has a purpose Hashem to whom wisdom belongs and does everything with wisdom and it is inconceivable that He did anything without goal or purpose. And that of all the creatures lower than the moon, man is the most noble. furthermore man is the most important creature on earth and what is man’s puurpose in life? The purpose of man is to thank, in order that he should understand what his duty is in this world, which is to recognize the creator and His Greatness, to fear Him, to do His Will through study of Torah keeping mitzvahs and correcting character traits.
So why did Hashem create all those people who do not think about anything spiritual? In fact we see that most humans lack the sophistication and are empty of wisdom. and instead they seek physical gratification. Should a wise man who shuns the worst temptations is one out of many. Or is sometimes only one in a generation. Meaning this person who is the most noble creature in the world who fulfills his mission faithfully is often only one in several generations. yet there are billions of people who do not occupy themselves with Torah who do nothing to serve Hashe mor expand His Glory. since Hashem creates everyting for a purpose, why were they created?
all people serve the tzaddik. the Rambam answers, the answer is, these people who do not serve Hashem were creted to serve that one tzaddik who does serve Hashem for if all people were to seek wisdom the process of sustaining the world efficiently would be ruined since there are many occupations like threshiing grinding baking that man absolutely needs for his sustenance. so when would he have time to learn and acquire wisdom? therefore other people were created to perform these activities and all over the world the talmid chochom will find his needs prepared before him, the land would be settled and wisdom would flourish. in other words if all people were occupied with wisdom the physcal world would become devastated and the chochcomim too would not survive because they would not have the basic provisions for sustaining their bodies, on the other hand if everyone worked the land, there would be no sages or tzaddikim in the world. therefore many people are needed to fulfill the roles enabling individuals in every generation to be free to occupy themselves in Torah and mitzvahs and increase the glory of Hashem that is the goal of creation.
Thus a muktitute of eople are needed so the tzaddk has his provisions. the needs are all over the world. there is a need for countries with petroleum so they can provide lighting etcetera for hte sake of learning Torah the fulfillment of its mitzvahs. for this reason with all the inhabitants of the world, contribute in oone way or another so that those who study Torah can do so without distraction or disturbance.
if not for the insane, the world would remain desolate. the rambam continues, how well put is the expression if not for the insane the world would remain desolate because there is no insanity like human insanity. the rambam presents the pursuit of worldly possessions as an example of this insanity. many people spend years of their lives traveling all over the world endangering themselves in perilous jobs to amass wealth to build an ornate house that stands for many years. yet based on expected life span, a plain wooden house would suffice. is there a greater insanity than this? and so all the pleasures of the world are totally folly and foolishness, yet these people cause the world’s development. on the one hand this proportionate occupation of people with the matters of this world in terms of time and mental and physcal energy that people invest is lunacy because the personal benefits from their efforts are so insignificant relative to the effort and anguish which they invest. therefore from the personal persepctive and certainly from a spiritual perspective this pursit is absolute insanity. yet most people pursue the pleasures of htis world because the world is filled with these lunatics, yet they are needed for the sustenance of the world. the great effort which people expend in order to fulfill their missions bring much benefit to the development of the world and the provisions of the human races needs.
the fool receives wealth for the benefit of the tzaddik. and if someone would argue, do we not sometimes see a fool who calmly sits in this world without toil, while others work for him and carry out his business. and in fact it is possible that this employee is a smart and wise man. the rambams question is that from a superficial outlook it seems there are idiots and fools who have wealth and live in luxury and great tranquility who hardly toil at all, with hundreds of attendants who work for them in all their affairs and among them some who are much wiser and greater tzaddikim than they. it would appear that the fool is benefitting because it all seems to belong to him, to this he answers, the truth is not like it appears to the thinker. rather the fools produce and prepare the intended good for hte man who Hashem desires to give it to. Hashem gives the fool tranqylity and blessing so the tzaddik will receive benefit from him, but not for hte purpose of the fool hiimself.
the rambam continues even though he rests with his amassed wealth or property, to build a mansion, kings and their sorts, it is possible that the mansion is designated for a certain righteous man who will come years later and take shelter saving him from death, as it is written we will prepare clothing and the righteous man will wear them. the fool that built and lives in the magnificent mansion prides himself in the mansion and convinces himself that he is a most important person. his proof is that he is the famous wealthy one. so he believes that Hashem gave hin all this wealth in his own merit but nothing could be further from the truth but he is only being used as a pawn. hashem gave hin the wealth to benefit the tzaddik. that benefit though small the mansion may last many years while the tzaddik may only use it for a short time. moreover the tzaddik might not enter the building, he night just rest in the shadow of the walls on his way in a heat wave and that justifiies the mansion and all the servants. it is possible the fool was given the money and if he were wise he would have invested his money and not wasted his weath on the mansion so that once in the future the tzaddik would take shelter in its shade. to illustrate the man ina magnificent air conditioned home while enjoying his pleasures. he looks out the window and sees a tzaddik in the scorching heat worn out, stopping to rest in the shadeof the mansion, now the wealthy man sees this and thinks I am importat and successful. that poor wayfarer is not important at all. but the truth is just the opposite. the tzaddik is the important mperson around whom the rich man resovles. the rich man is a vessel of the tzaddik. he received all his wealth for ht eone time benefit of hte tzaddik taking rest in the shade of the mansion. at least one time the rich man contributes to the tzaddik, and for this reason the fool receives a wife and children and many servants sustained for the sake of the tzaddik.
many people exist for hte sake of one tzaddik. if we think about it we will realize that there are many people whose entire right to life is that some benefit will come about to the tzaddik to them. even if that benefit will not be innediate or direct. the rich home owner lives to build the mansion and his servants help him so he can build the mansion and maintain the building. all those with business connections to him or to whom he attained his wealth simply live for the tzaddik. all the construction workers, painters, plumbers, etc and in the widest scope all those who made it possible for these people to do their work, in all many exist for hte sake of the tzaddik. the rambam’s example of this, at first glance Hashem allows the great mansion to exist and gives life and food to so many people who are associatedw ith it just so one tzaddik on one day is spared suffering by its shade? the answer is yes fo rHashem is one and His possiblities and capabilities are unlimited. when a hyman wants to by something or satisfy his will, he has to think and weigh if he has enough money or energy to fulfill his needs. therefore what he does is linited.. we wonder how is so much extravagance possible for hte sake of one tzaddik. but there is no exprravagance here because everything belongs to hashem who has no limitations .it is worthwhile to Hashem to give life and sustain even an entre country and feed the entire world for the sake of one tzaddik who is the purpose of creation,. Hashen would give life to many to build a mansion in whose shade a tzaddik will rest.
as explained above this is an extraordinary chesed for these people.
the nature of genreal prvidence according to the Rambam
in the words of the Rambam the nature of general providence is very clear. all those myriad people who took part in what eventually enabled the tzaddik to have shade on that burning day received all their necessities only because of general providence. when there is a liberation in heaven concerning these people in case none of them are serving hashem and do not do His will they do not have the merit to exist withinn special individual providence. that is, since they have no direct connetion to doing Hashem’s will, they have no merit as reward for good deeds. therefore their entire right is to be vessels or vessels for the benefit of the tzaddik. ordinary creatures and people do not have independent value. their importance arises from giving assistance to an oved, the onlyy creature with inherent value, and their level of importance is the degree they serve an oved Hashem. the more the oved Hashem uses them for the service of Hashem the more they are elevated and beocme important because that is how they reach the objective of their creaiton and that is their perfection as the rAmchal wrote in the mesillas yesharim: if a person controls himself and clings to His Creator and uses the world only to aid him in the service of the creator the world is uplifted for him. for all creatures are greatly uplifted and serve the perfect tzaddik. this is like what chochomim said in gemara, who knew that the stones that Yaakov put around his head, it teaches us that the stones gathered themselves into one spot and each one said let the righteous one lay his head upon me. the stones, that is their spiritual roots, understood that the more they served a tzaddik, the more important they will be and being a headrest for Yaakov is a more important role than serving as a protection around him. therefore each one wanted to serve the tzaddik so it would be more elevated and important since its function would be to be an organ to serivng yaakov. blessed is He whol created all these servings. and this is the concept of our sages explain in gemara brachas when the sage ben zomi used to stand on the steps at the temple Mount, and he would see the Jews coming up for the yom tov, and he would say, blessed is He who created all these because he was unique in his generation. Rashi explains to serve me for they plow and plant and I find it already. ben zoma directly or indirectly benefited from all o fthen and because he was the gadol hador, the greatest of the generation, he provided thorugh his good deeds for all those multitudes to exist,, among these people who were individuals who fulfilled their mission through specific providence, serving Ben Zoma was additional because they all were created to serve Ben Zoma, the unique one of hte generation. so wehen he saw all of them he says blessed is He whol creates all these to serve me. the world was created for me. the above principles are included in the words of our sages. every truly Gdfearing person must say the world is created for me. because Hashem craetaes the entire world so that a single servant of Hashem should have all his needs and in the merit of the service of Hashem Hashem sustains many creatures so they can serve hinm even one time, even in indirect way and after many exchanges. every gd serving individual must say that since each individual must do his utmost so that he too is a servant of Hashem for whom it is worthwhile to sustan and create an entire world.
20 minute excerpt of shiur 2 for Day 5 Oct 2 (see www.jwworkgroup.com)
Sifsei Chaim Rav Chaim Friedlander Faith and Divine Providence translated by Rav Yehuda Goldman
Chapter 3 Providence of Humans
Ramchal continues to briefly explain the essence of hashkafa on humans, the only creatures who possess freedom of choice. However each individual member of the human race, decides his connection to the class as a whole, is supervised separately as an individual, and all of these are judged separately, all the gezerias, and decrees are made for him separately in accordance with the details of his task.
Let us analyze his words. However each individual memeber of the human race is different from the other creatures, besides his connection to the class on the whole, aside from being governed by specific providence, humans are governed by general providence as well, as vessels who help mankind to assist other individual people and this point will be explained later on. He is Supervised separately as an individual, Hashem judges and supervises each person individually like his unique mission in life. each person has his own special task which is unique to him and part of his obligation to carry out the 613 mitzvahs in the service of Hashem so that a specific area of Gd’s glory in creation would be revealed through him. In this way each individual contributes his share to bring creation to perfection. Hashem therefore supervises each individual to assist him in various ways to assist him in doing his mission and reward him for doing his duty or conversely to bring suffering upon him in order to arouse him to fulfill his duty or to punish him for neglecting his mission. and this is man’s special supervision as an individual. and all his deeds are judged separately, Hashem judges each and every act separately examining every detail of each deed, and decrees are made for him separately, meaning the decrees meted out to him are uniquely suited for him, in accord with the details of his task, these decrees are in accord with his unique mission and in accord with his deeds whether they conform or clash with his service of Hashem, because whatever happens to man even the most minute event is not incidental but is made to measure to that indiviudal, be it a reward or punishment, all events are intended to mold and guide a person to fulfill his mission, even suffering is guidance, all this stems from the judgment and hashgacha pratis and the person which is based on his avodas Hashem and on his merits.
Hashkacha pratis on an individual and on each act based on the above, the concept of hashkacha pratis encompasses several meanings. first that the judgment and supervision are on the indiviudal person are on the individual who is judged and are based on these things. He is not judged merely as a part of the whole race for sustaining the whole race, unlike an animal who is judged as a part of the whole class. secondly, Hashem does not judge a person based on his collective deeds but on each detail of his needs and directs him accordingly for the purposes explained above.
specific and general providence for the two types of people, we explained that general providence is on the klal, the whole class is sustained, and why s the entire class needed? for the sake of avodas Hashem. thus the purpose of Hashgacha klalis is for the sake of the tzaddik who serves Hashem and uses all the parts of creation for the service of Hashem. My teacher Rav Dessler defined the hashgacha providence on the eved hashem, the worship of Hashem, based on his deeds. hashgacha klalis is the hashgacha of the vessels, the keilim, he needs for his worship of Hashem. for the purpose of all existence is to serve directly or indirectly Hashem. therefore everything in the creation is somehow keilim, frameworks, for serving Hashem. the sefer Miktav Eliyahu is available online.
Each time Hashem deliberates the need for the preservation and development of a certain type of creature, he is actually judging those who serve Hashem to see to what extent do they need this type of creature or tool for their service. based on their needs, Hashem sustains that group. there is no significance given to any part of that group, only that this member should be a tool for the tzaddik and not the other. in order to write Torah or a novel you need a pen. it is no difference. there is aneed for the class group of pens but not for a particular pen. so when there is a liberation in the heavens it concerns the whole and not the part, that there be enough pens to write Torah however there is no judgment on any particular pen to determine if it should exist for hte sake of writing. similarly we need meat to eat on Shabbos kodesh. it is therefore necessary to have a certain amount of animals in the cattle group, but there is no need to eat the meat of any particular cow. liberation on the whole, while Hashem maintains the parts of the whole, this form is called general providence, as has been explained, not because they are only supervised superficially but because the judgment is on general need and totality of that class for the sake of individual people the servants of Hashem. we have now learned that hashgacha pratis is a supervision of an individual who worships Hashem since he is fulfilling the purpose of creation to provide his needs according to that person’s needs. hashgacha klalis is the supervision over the totality of each class of creatures, the vessels or tools, for the sake of individual person in the service of Hashem. general providence is really just a branch of specific providence.
hashem yisborach activates everything with different goals. lets further clarify the difference between hashgacha klalis and hashgafa pratis. whatever happens in the world is a result of Hashem’s action and only He gives life and sustains all the species big and small and only He that constantly activates them and even with hashkacha klalis Hashem activates everythig.
there is one more underlying principle for general and specific hashkafa and that is for the purpose of the creation. The master who blessed is He who supervises all His creatures at all times, sustains them, directs them in accordance with the purpose for which He creates them and that purpose is for the glory of Hashem as the sages put them, all that Hashem blessed is He, created in this world He created solely for His Glory and this is brought down in pirke avos
the difference between general and specific providence is expressed in the divine judgment that affects that providence, liberation and the supervision that most creatures concern the general state of each class, for the purpose and goal of that class and each part of the whole is not judged as an independent entith because the part is not the purpose of its creation. rather Hashem sustains and activates the details as a part of the whole class and the needs of the class and its purposes. however the man who chooses to serve Hashem is different. He is the purpose of creation so man is judged in every purpose of his deeds and the supervsion he receives is in accordance with those deeds. this is specific providence for it is for the benefit of the specific being rather than as a keli for others.
General providence for humans as well. Not all people are supervised with specific providence. a person who serves Hashem and is occupied with fulfilling his nission in the revelation of hashem’s glory is supervised wtih hashgacha pratis in accordance with his deeds to bestow good upon him or heaven forfend the opposite as explained above. but someone who does not serve Hashem who is not concerned with fulfilling his mission in life has no right to expect specific providence because he is not functioning as man is supposed to. He is receiving kindness from Hashem who gives him general providence wherby he acts as vessel for the tzaddik who is serving Hashem. this ideal will be expounded on later.
even if the tzaddik is supervised within general providence, furthermore a detailed study of the Ramchal’s words reveals that all people are supevised within the framework of general providence, even those governd by hashkacha pratis, are simultaneously under hashgahcah klalis as well. the Ramchal wrote: each individual of the human race besides his connection to the race on the whole is supervised separately. even someone who is supervised by hashkacha pratis is also partially supervised by general providence, because although every Jew has a unique mission to reveal Hashem’s glory for which he is supervised separately each Jew has a role to play to create a setting that is conducive to seving Hashem. in that role the individual serves as a vessel for others and for that he is supervised and treated through general providence, so a tzaddik is governed by both.
a student who goes into exile, his teacher is in exile with him. we find an example of this in the Gemara makos, where it says a student who goes into exile his teacher goes into exile with him even though he has done no sin, not because he is considered guilty by that student who accidentally murdered, but because it is written that he shall live, as it says in chumash devarim, do for him the murderer so that he should have life. Hashem is concerned even with the needs of someone who murdered by accident when he exiled to a city of refuge. Hashem thereby commanded us to provide the murderer with physical needs and spiritual needs. so if he needs his torah teacher to maintain his normal life, the teacher must go into exile as well so he can continue to study. even if the teacher is ore important to hashem than the student and is supervised more than the student, the teacher is governed by the needs of others, he becomes a vessel for thhe exiled student and goes into exile as well. in this case the tzaddik is not supervised by his own deeds but by general providence, by the needs of others.
the same is true for every individual. no one lives for themselves. when we think about it we see that man lives and acts as well, he spiritually or physcally gives or receives from others and then he is a vessel to perform kindness. Hashem fashioned a world so that each person should serve as a vessel for others in addition to having an indvidual mission. man is thereby given an additional opportunity to exist so that even if he is unworthy of hashgacha pratis there is still reason to maintain him for the sake of others who need him.
The different levels of general and specific providience for each person.
though every person is supervised with general providence, the degree of that hashgacha varies. the tzaddik who serves faithfully, hashem treats hin acording to his needs and deeds, 90 percent of what happens is in accordance with his deeds and 10 percent is in accord with what other people need of him. there are others whose situation is the opoosite. since they only keep a few mitzvahs, they dont have enough merit to exist on their avodas Hashem alone, so their main merit for existing is to assist those who do serve Hashem faithfully. thus 90 percent of the bounty Hashem bestows upon them is the result of general provience and 10 percent of the bounty is in acorrdance with their deeds. but those who do not serve Hashem at all do not have the merit to receive anythng based on their deeds. they do not even have the merit to exist. they exist exclusively due to genreal providenc, that they benefit the world and indirectly serve Hashem. the very fact that Hashem sustains and bestows blessings and success even on those who do not serve Him as long as some benefit reaches a tzaddik is an expression of Hashem’s kindness. general providence gives eistence to the entire human race, including the wicked, for when the thief can be of use, they will take him down from the gallows. so too Hashem sustains those who have lost their right to exist on the personal level becuase one day in the future they will bring some benefit to a tzaddik. however this form of salvation and sustenance is limited, as in the last parable, the condemned thief was an expert craftsman, who would not be hanged. if he was also dangerous to the public, he would not be spared because his harm is greater than his benefit. The same is true of Gd that not every wicked person deserves to exist through general providence even as a vessel because Hashem does not use broken vessels.
20 minute segment of shiur one, for day 4, Oct 1 2014
General providence of the detail for the sake of the whole
in light of the above, we now understand that the concept of hashkacha klalis can see how it is superficially understood that Hashem supervises and attends in a general way, while the details of the perpetuation of the creatures happen on their own, at least not directly by Hashem. Rather hashkacha klalis means that Hashem supervises the klal meaning Hashem certainly supervises and sustains each individual creature and provides it with its needs, but the deliberation of the individual member and the concern for each one is only to maintain the group. Hashgacha pratis, specific providence is for an individual and for the group, however the expression hashgacha pratis, specific providence is not used, general providence is used, instead he uses parallel terms used by the earlier chochomim, for example the Sforno on chumash vayikra, parshas vazriya, each individual providence, and group providence, this is what he meant when he wrote and He supervises all the indivdual members of each of His species with regard to its effect on the rest of its kind, this is hashgacha minus, but not as individual with the same meaning that an individual is not going by individual providence. Providence of man can override this rule. the fundamental idea that a udgment or supervisoin of the details over the other species, the living creatures, focus on the need of the group in general and not on individual members. Only in times when there is no connection between this member and this specific human being, but when this member belongs to a specific person or affects a person directly then the individual creature is judged and treated in how it affects that person and this individual member stems from the specific providence of that person. for example, as we have explained, Hashem does not judge an individual cow to determine if it deserves to live or die based on its needs since it does not have these. rather, the judgment is on the class of cattle, how many animals are needed in total, Hashem grants to each member of the class accordingly and if a certain cow is in excess of the amount needed it can die. however if this cow belongs to a certain person and there is hashkacha pratis then the judgment is over the owner of this cow because even if it would be unnecessary for its class, still if it were to die, the human being to whom it would belong would be affected, in this case it would be judged within the providence of its owner, whether this person deserves this small space on his deeds or not, it is therefore that although for hte purpose of sustaining its class it was not needed, however since the person who owns it deserves to have a strong healthy cow in this case Hashem sustains it with blessing.
in any case even when a cow belongs to a certain human, there is no individual providence either because of its personality, for it is not judged on its own merits to survive, rather the judgment is does this person deserve that his cow grow and develop, so either way there is no deliberation with the deeds of this cow, the only difference is whether the providence is in accordance with the needs of its class or in accord with the deeds of its owner.
the summary of hashkacha of an inanimate vegetative and living creatures:
1. Hashem knows and supervises every individual member of every class that was created. He is the One who gives it life and sustains each one and provides for all of its needs. Even for those creatures who are managed by general providence.
2. General providence, hashkacha klalis is also called group provience, hashgacha minus.
3. specific providence is also called individual providence
4. hashgacha minus, group providence, means Hashem judges and supervises and sustains the type of group as a whole
5. the determination is made on the needs of the group, which is to help man serve Hashem and reveal His Glory
6. Hashem judges and sustains each individual member of the class in accordance of the needs of the class
7. when a particular animal that belongs to a human, the liberation over its existence is also influenced by the specific providence governed by its owner even if it is not needed by its class.
8. in any case they should never judge a specific creature otehr than man based on its deeds because it has no deeds.
9 when there is a surplus of individual creatures, the extra ones that are not needed by man will die.
20 minute segment of shiur one, for day 3, Sept 20 2014
Chapter 2 Divrei Hashgacha, definitions of Hashkafa based on the Ramchal
We therefore need to clarify and define, what is hashgacha klalik and hashkacha pratis and how do they differ? so the ramchal provides us with a clear definition. we will quote and expand His words. Behold the master supervises all of His creatures at all times and sustains and directs them in accordance with the purpose for which He created them. Hashem supervises all His creatures without exception and what is hashkacha providence, it is the constant sustaining and activating all of the creatures throughout all of their stages of development and activities.
Further more, all of Gd’s providence towards His creatures is in accord with the purpose for which He created them, meaning all creatures are created with a goal or purpose, that goal is to assist people who have free choice in their avodas Hashem, service of Gd, in light of this purpose, Hashem activates and directs the entire creation. the hashkacha of man is unique, whoever since the human race is singled out to receive reward and punishment for its deeds, as we explained above, so too his supervision is different than that of the other species. Man is essentially different from the other creatures, those beneath and those above his level, he is different from those made of physical elements alone, including inanimate, vegetative and living creatures. And he is different from the spiritual creatures, the angels, since man is the only creature who has freedom of choice to do good as hashem has commanded or conversely to do evil. He is therefore the only creature to be rewarded or punished or if necessary for his mission or test, to be given bounty or deprivation, therefore Hashem supervises and treats man based on his deeds. when he does good he receives reward but when he does bad, he receives punishment in order to cleanse his sins and correct his ways. thus even in cases where the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper, the supervision and treatment of the individual depend on his deeds, on his position in the service of Hashem. all this is true of the service of Hashem supervised with hashgacha pratis, specific providence, and later we will explain why it is called specific providence, that people who do not serve Gd are supervised by hashgacha klalis general providence, as will be explained later on . we will see that even servants of Hashem is somewhat governed and directed by general providence as well.
Providence of the individual members of the other species is the perpetuation of the species. the ramchal continues: and that is that the providence of the other species is exclusively for the purpose of its survival to whatever laws or limits to which Hashem desires and He supervises all the individual members of every species whose effect on the rest of it kind, that is the individual per se, but because they are only needed for the completeness of their general class. first we will explain the ramchal’s words broadly and then look more closely
hashem supervises and sustains each individual creature in order to sustain the class it belongs to. Lets examine the class of cattle. Hashem creates cattle for certain purposes such as food, and weekday shabbos korbonos and weekday and milk to drink and at the time of the Bais Hamikdosh for korbonos. Their hides are also needed for the production of parchment and tefillin. for these purposes Hashem sustains the class of cattle. but what Hashem judges a class of cattle and its needs, how many heads of cattle are necessary for that class to continue and provide for human needs, for this sake, Hashem does sustain each individual member of that class and takes care of his needs. But there is no separate focus of judgment on any individual cow, just like a man is judged, whether he deserves to live or as to what quality that life will be in accord with its needs because a cow does not have free choice for which it will receive reward or punishment.
Let’s examine this case with more detail. the inhabitants of a certain city consume extra grams of meat each year, to which there is a need of a thousand cattle. and this case Hashem was guaranteed this amount of animals for the city’s needs, and if they are less than the needed amount, Hashem would increase the fertility of the cattle accordingly. conversely when there are too many animals, the extra animals might die, thus the judgment concerns the class as a whole. it is all about the number of animals needed for the city or the world, and not the individual cow or bull. this is so since the individual cow has no of its own and cannot be judged worthy, but rather as a member of the class. however Hashem makes that cow sustained and each and every creature at all times.
Providence of species according to the Ramchal: let’s read the Ramchal’s words more closely and clarify them. the providence of the other species is exclusively for the purpose of its survival. that is, the providence which has sustained all the various species of the world, the inanimate, the vegetative and the living down to the level of their details, to whatever laws or limits which Hashem desires, to whatever laws and limits Hashem desires because each one of the various species from the fly to the lion and elephant, and every type of tree or shrub, has a purpose and a function for which Hashem creates and sustains it. Like our example above of the class of cattle that was created for food or sacrifices, and for parchment for tefillin, when the same purposes of the other creatures recreate the laws and limits of those species, and Gd according to the needs of those species sustains them, this is hashkacha klalis, general providence. and He supervises all the individual members of each of the species, and maintains and activates each member of the various species, from the RAmchal’s words we see how he explains the terms general providence, he is specifically mentions that Gd supervises all the individual members of each species, obviously the ramchal does not hold that Gd only supervises the various creatures in a general way in order that they exist but does not care for all their details or all of their needs, He certainly creates and gives life to every single one and provides it with all that it needs, but He does not judge each fly to determiine if it has the merit to exist on its own right. rather, its liberation is only in regard to its effect on the rest of its kind, that is numeration is on the class as a whole, however, for the sake of that entire group’s existence, Hashem supervises and maintains a deeper level as illustrated with the cattle. Hashem determines how many heads of cattle are needed in the world in order to sustain that class for its purpose such as feeding man and other purposes. Then based on the decision of the total amount of the cows and bulls necessary for the world, Hashem increases them accordingly and then sustains all of the parts indiviudal cows by caring for and providing for their needs. However if there is a decision that there is an overabundance of cows, they will die. so how can there ever be an overabundance if for instance that people lapsed and over rosh hashana that htey no longer need as much meat, then some of the cows are not needed, and the deliberation is not if this particular cow should live and the other to die. one may wonder why did this animal die and not the other? although we do not have the solution to this problem, we know that it is not the focus of the heavenly judgment about the animals. so it is the sum total of the members of that class, and when they examine the details of the class the judgment is not on them independently but on parts of the class, but not as individuals per se, and the divine judgment has no relation to the part of the animal as individuals but need not be treated according to its own deeds since it does not possess individual identity it is merely a part of a group of animals and only from this perspective is it judged, because their only need is for the completeness of their general class and there is no individual of this cow or bull but for the goal of creations there is a need for this type of creature for all the various species are needed, both small and large, and each class contains a certain number for this purpose. Hashem therefore judges and supervises each detail in accordance with the goal of the class and its needs and not in accord with the independent member, individual members that only mediums or means of perpetuation of the class for the purpose it was created for.
20 minute segment of shiur one, for day 2, Sept 29 2014
The existence of every creature every minute is the result of a new direct impulse from Hashem in that instant, therefore when we say a table standing on its basis serving its function, we should not mistakenly think that it is standing on its own as a contiuation of its existence a minute ago. for the truth is that this table exists now because this instant Hashem creates the table anew and He wants the table to exist. every moment He wills again as He wills it at the time of creation, Hashem recreates creation every moment. Wherever Hashem Your word stands firm in Heaven. Our chochomim explicitly expounded this from the pasuk of tehillim, how forever Hashem your word, stands firm in heaven. what word stands firm in heaven? Rather Hashem says on what thing does heaven stand? on that which I said, let there be expansive midst of the water and it was so. it says in tehilim, and it was so, as it is written, so He spoke and it came to be that same thing which He said is what He did. Therefore it is written and He commanded and it stood firm. and by the word of Hashem the heavens were made, and on that same word which He created them, they stand forever, therefore Your word stands firm in Heaven. this is from medrash on sefer tehillim.
Let us explain the words of the medrash of Hashem Your words stand firm in heaven. the word stand is in the present tense, Hashems word stands firm in heaven and all times forever, that is why chochomim ask what word stands in heaven? and they answered, rather said Hashem, on what does Heaven stand? on that which I said, let there be an expanse in the midst of the water and it was so. what makes the heavens stand forever? the word of Hashem which said let there be an expanse and it was so.
meaning that the will of Hashem that creates the sky expands in the first place. It is the same thing which acts and creates the heavens all the time, it is the reason why the heavens exist now is because Hashem wants the heavens to exist and wills it so at every moment. it is on this will that the day stands.
Our sages further explain that the saying is true of all the creatures. And it is written for He spoke and it came to be that the same thing what He said came to be, meaning, Hashem said ten utterances through which He created the world. for example when He said let there be light immediately there was light, Hashem’s will gives utterances the commandment that there be a creation and furthermore this command continues to operate every single instant so the world continues to exist. therefore it is written He commanded and it stood firm. A medrish continues, by the word of Hashem the heavens were made. an expression of will, and by that same word we should create them and they stand forever. that same word which created is what constantly makes the heavens stand forever, therefore it is written, forever Hashem Your word stands in the heavens.
Sichu summary: Hakodosh baruch Hu through His will Hashem activates all creatures from the smallest to the largest, so when we see a small fly move about, we should contemplate and realize Hashem is putting life into it and moving it right now. furthermore humans exist and act every minute only because Hashem continues to activate them each and every minute. Elokim the Master of all the forces refined as the Torah uses various terms to describe the almighty, since Hashem is not it is impossible to relate to him with a specific definite word; however chazal told us the concept that through your actions we recognize You. this makes it a mitzvah for us to relate to Him as we see His behavior pattern towards us and to give specific names to those behavior patterns, therefore the names the compassionate mercifucl master, slow to anger, Hashem is the master of war and others.
Even if it seems there are many active forces in the world, we must know that no force acts only Hashem activates them, as Chaim Volozhin wrote, and this is why He blesses His Name, called elokim, the master of all the forces, because every individual force that exists in any of the worlds, He is the master, every instance He infuses them with power and might, they are constantly dependent on His hand to be altered or arranged as He wishes. However He activates all the forces secretly, so then it is superficially appears that an individual force acts on its own. we must reflect and realize in truth Hashem is the one who activates any given force. we watch the sun shine for the whole world, yet in our morning prayers, we praise Hashem that He illuminates the earth and those who dwell upon it. So Hashem is illuminating except He is doing it through a conduit called the sun, hence it is not the sun which shines, but Hashem through the sun.
Rabbi Dessler my teacher illustrated the concept thus as we find in the sefer Michtav Eliyahu, when we observe someone writing with a pen, we do not say the pen is writing and the person isn’t really guiding it. rather we say the person is writing with a pen. we hardly notice the pen; the same is true of the shining sun. Hashem wishes to conceal the fact that He is the one who illuminates the world, so we see the sun shining but we know in fact it is He who illuminates the world. even this illustration does not fully expres the relationship between Hashem and the conduits through which He acts, a human who wishes to write needs a pen in order to write but Hashem can illuinate directly without the conduit of the sun. all the above explains that it is incorrect to explain hashkacha klalis in the superficial way that others view it. There is a suggestion that Hashem only acts on the small details in time when it relates to the Jewish people or tzaddikim, the hashkagacha klalis,that everything else is affected by Hashem in a general way, and we cannot say that during the six days of creation, Hashem creeated nature and all the physical laws of nature, but since then it all runs on its own. and we cannot say Hashem deals with the details but only supervises in a general way to make sure there are no major alterations of the regular order of creation. the truth is as has been explained, that Hashem alone deals with and activates every single detail in the creation every single moment.
High above all nations is Hashem, above the heavens is His Glory, pasuk in sefer tehillim. the malbim in his commentary to sefer tehillim presents the difference bewteen the idolatrous outlook and the Jewish outlook, and as the difference between these two hashkachas and he brings it down as follows: these pasukim are about providence that Hashem supervises this lower world as opposed to the opinion of the nations that He gave over the administration of this world to the stellar system, high above all nations is Hashem, for in their opinion He raises HImself high and only above the heavens is His Glory. it does not befit His Honor to supervise the lower level of creatures, according to their opinion, then, blessing and bounty come only from the stellar system and not from Hashem. Here is another pasuk on tehillim the Malbim talks about: who is like Hashem who bends down low to look upon the heavens and the earth? but we the children of Yisroel know and believe who is like hashem our Hashem,, who is enthroned on high but bends down low to look upon the heavens and the earth. that is His greatness, it is so boundless and to Him there is no difference between Heaven and earth, for just as He sits high above the earth He sits even higher above the Heavens, and just as He looks down upon the earth so too He looks upon the heavens, for relative to His boundless greatness there is no difference between heaven and earth, it is impossible to say of Him that He is closer to the heavens than He is to the earth, it is impossible to say that He is closer to the heavens than He is to earth because He is equally distant from both of them, yet He activates both of them in equal detail.
Happiness comes from learning Torah, praying fervently to Hashem and emulating His 13 Attributes of Mercy . Sometimes our constricted feelings are strong and the goal of the Torah principles below is to help us build solid emunah that will lead us in the path we want to go at the time we need it the most. Our emunah can escort the light concealed in the matter through rough waters and fires, taivas and gaivas, and our effort to do so is our akeidas Yitzchok. The goal is for Hashem’s LIght and glory to be visible in time and space, something that only a being in time and space can do, reflect Hashem into this world.
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Ein od milvado – there is nothing in the world but Hashem
Man is made in the image of Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy
Free will: Everything is in the hands of Shamayim, except for Yir’as ” Berachos 33 (h) (R. Chanina)
Personal Prayer – the power of speech: Air (aleph, vav, vav, yud, raish) is light (aleph vav raish) plus two letters of Hashem’s Name yud and vav
“How long wilt thou conceal from me the light of the blessed En Sof, which pervades all the worlds; which was, is, and will be the same, including also this place where I stand, just as the light of blessed En Sof was alone before the world was created, without any change is written, “for I , the Lord have not changed, for He transcends time..” Likutei Amarim Ch 29 p. 129
20 minute excerpt from Sept 28 2014 work group
Faith and Divine Providence: Rabbi Chaim Friedlander given by Rabbi Z Manela
Hashgacha pratis and hashgacha klalis, specific and general providence
Hashem’s supervision of creation is manifested in two forms known as hashgacha pratis, specific providence and hashkacha klalis, general providence. what is the difference between the two?
we must avoid the typical superficial interpretation that general providence which means that Hashem knows and acts only in a general way, while specific providence means that Hashem knows every single detail and acts upon those details. Hashem’s knowledge is all encompassiing. this superficial understanding is certainly wrong, for hashem’s knowledge is all encompassing, His knowledge is not limited to current events. it extends to all future events as well, as we say in our tefillos and prayers as well, in the mussaf of Rosh Hashana, You remember everything ever done. and not a single creature is hidden from You. everything is revealed and known before You. Hashem our Gd, Who keeps watch and sees to the very end of all generations, He is Hakodesh Baruch Hu, so whether Hashem supervises with general provience or with specific providence, it makes no difference in HIs knowledge of events. Either way He knows every single detail, all this is true in regard to this first attribute of hashkagacha. Namely the observation of all that is done.
Hashem acts at all times to all creatures in all of their details. concerning the second part of hashgacha as well, which is the action towards the creatures, we cannot say there are cretures that are supervised by hashgacha klalis are wholly acted upon by Hashem in a general way while the details are heaven forbid regulated through other forces. It is written you have been shown to know that Hashem He is the Hashem, there is none beside HIm, this is the pasuk that is found in chumash devarim, even in this extent, to the empty parts of the world that the yalkus brings down, meaning there is no independent force that acts in the world, only Hashem does. Certainly even those creatures who are supervised with hashgacha klalis are supervised by Hashem alone. The difference between a builder and the Holy One, this can be understood if we understand how hashem interacts with the world. in the words of Chaim Volozhin in Nefesh HaChaim he says the following: the name Elokim is well known. He that blesses His Name is the master of all forces. and the reason he is called a master of all forces because Hashem is not like the person who builds a house out of wood, so number one, the builder does not create the wood through his power. He selects and arranges the pieces of the wood that have already been created to form the building, and number two, once he arranges them to his liking, the building will continue to stand even after he moves his force. and this is brought down from the nefesh hachaim.
in other words, if a carpenter makes a table, he assembles not creates it. since the carpenter does not create the material but only assembles the pieces, its continued existence of the table does not depend on the carpenter anymore. Once his work is done, the carpenter loses all connection to that table. just as at the time of the Creation of the World, Hashem blessed is His Name, created them and brought them into existence from nothing, with His unlimited might, so too, every single instant of our existence, order and permanence depends entirely on that he blesses HIs Name constantly continues to bestows energy amd abundance of new life upon them through His Will. so unlike hte carpenter, number one, Hashem creates matter out of nothing, yesh maayin, and number 2, He sustains and renews it every instant, He did not create the creatures unfinished, leaving them to develop on their own. Rather He fashioned and made each creature completely developed. Rabbis said it in Gemara Rosh Hashana, in maisa bereshis, all that was created in the acts of the beginning was created in their full height and this means as Rav Chananel that the creatures were all created in their life form, among the live stock, the cow was created as mature cow, not as a calf. we cannot say that after Hashem’s initial creation, everything continues to exist with its own iinner force as a mere extension of the first force which Hashem applied once at the beginning of Creation. It may seem that matter already exists and that it will continue to exist on its own until the end of history. This is not so. at the beginning of creation Hashem created everything out of nothing, so too each and every minute Hashem creates everything new out of nothing.
Hashem’s will: let us clarify this fundamental idea. When we say Hashem created the world, we certainly do not mean that Hashem used certain tools to create the world, as a human craftsman who manufactures an item needs tools to fashion the desired item. Hashem did not need to say anything in order to create. as soon as Hashem wanted a creature to exist, it was created for His Will is reality. Not so a human being. His will cannot create anything. For after wanting something he has to execute his will through a certain act, without an action his desire remains merely a thought. Only Hashem as we say in tehillim, life is in His Will. for through His Will alone life exists and reality is created.
… said exposing His Will. but if the word said in connection with Hashem means that he wanted, why then does the Torah say let there be light, in bereshis? and not elokim desires there be light and there was light. the Ramban indicates that the word said in this instance indicates will. every instance of and He said in the account of creation denotes will or desire. The answer is, when somebody wants others to know what he wishes, he reveals that will by saying it. so too in regard to the holy one, He said is a metaphor for an expression of His Will. What we actually see is deep, His Will becomes revealed to us through that action, and this is the meaning of the pasuk that says that Hashem says let there be light. Hashem wanted the light and expressed the desire to us. as it says in the pasuk vayehi ohr, and there was light. because at that same moment that He wanted the light, the will was expressed and the light was simultaneously created.
Hashem’s will renews the creation each instant. Just as Hashem created light and other creatures constantly, He renews or recreates them each instant. in every moment there is a new will of Hashem that desires existence of the creation. thus He acclimates it anew and therefore were He to remove His influence from it for even one moment, they would instantly become nothing. and this is brought down from the sefer Nefesh HaChaim.
As Reb Chaim Volozhin explains, our sages taught us this great lesson through one of the daily blessings they composed. this is as the men of the great assembly would say the blessing of He creates light, and His goodness He renews constantly the work of creation, and it means every single moment, as it says in tehillim, to Him Who makes great lights. it says Who makes. this is from Nefesh HaChaim.
The morning blessings are in the present tense. This is why our chochomim use our present tense in the morning blessings. for example, the blessing for sight is who gives sight to the blind. Hashem not only created man with eyes, He even continues to open the person’s eyes every single minute giving him the ability to see. we praise Hashem in this manner not only by a man subject to changes such as health and illness, but even above the inanimate part of creation whose existence seems fixed and unchangeable, so we praise Him that He is the one that spreads out the earth upon the waters, in the present tense, and not spread out in the past tense meaning right now, Hashem spreads out and stretches out the earth upon which we stand and walk over the waters. Hashem renews them with HIs renewed Will every single minute and from that Will is his sustenance, not from the original operation.