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.