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.