web analytics
November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Predestination And Human Effort


The-Shmuz

“And you shall make a menorah of pure gold, hammered out shall the menorah be made. Its base, its shaft, it cups, its knobs, and its blossoms shall be [hammered] from it.” – Shemos 25:21

Moshe Rabbeinu was charged with the construction of the Mishkan, the dwelling place of Hashem in this world. While the components of the structure are physically complex, the kavannas – the specific intentions required during the process of building it – are even more intricate.

The most complicated of all of the vessels was the menorah. Its design was so elaborate that even after Hashem taught Moshe how it was to be built, Moshe still didn’t understand its unique nature and was unable to form it. Therefore, Hashem showed Moshe an image of a menorah made of fire so that Moshe could actually see the finished form and imitate it.

Yet Rashi tells us that when it came time for the construction of the menorah, Moshe still could not fathom its structure and was unable to fabricate it. Hashem said, “Throw the clump of gold into the fire, and it will form by itself.” This is how the menorah was created – on its own.

This Rashi is perplexing. Since the menorah was so intricate that Moshe could not understand its inner nature and how to form it, why did Hashem bother to show him the image of the menorah in fire? Hashem knew Moshe wasn’t going to be able to create the menorah himself. He knew that in the end it would have to come about by Moshe’s throwing the clump of gold into the fire. Why did Hashem show Moshe the image of the menorah so that he could understand how it was to be formed? Clearly, creating the menorah was beyond human capacity. Why did Moshe need to have a clear image of what it was to look like?

The answer to this question is predicated on understanding the balance between Hashem’s involvement in the running of the world and man’s obligation to put in his effort – the balance between bitachon and hishtadlus.

One of the basic facts of life is that Hashem runs this world. While it may appear that man is in charge, Hashem orchestrates every activity on the planet. The question is: what is man’s part? If Hashem determines all outcomes, how is man supposed to act? What is his role?

The Chovos Ha’Levovos teaches us that we are obligated to act b’derech hatevah – in the ways of the world. In other words, we are obligated to go through the motions as if the results are dependent upon us, knowing all the while that the outcome is completely out of our hands.

We work for a living, knowing the amount of money we are to make has been set on Rosh Hashanah. We go to doctors when we are sick, even though we know our health is determined solely by Hashem. We put in our effort, knowing all the while that it is Hashen’s world and that He alone determines the outcome.

Amazingly, whenever we accomplish something in this world, the results are credited to us even though we are fully aware Hashem was One Who did it all. We merely went through the motions. When we use that system, it is considered as if we did the action.

Why Moshe Needed to See the Image of the Menorah

This seems to be the answer to the question on Rashi. Hashem wanted the Mishkan and its vessels to be constructed by man. However, it was impossible for man to make them. Even the greatest of men couldn’t comprehend how to make a menorah. So his effort was to do all that he could and then rely on Hashem for the rest. Moshe would put the gold into the fire, and the menorah would form on its own. Moshe used the system that Hashem created to bring forth the menorah.

However, for the creation of the menorah to be credited to man, Moshe had to at least have a vision of what it was that he was creating. Once he had that concept in mind, throwing the clump of gold into the fire was considered as if he made the menorah himself. It was then considered as if he used Hashem’s system to bring about this result. If Moshe lacked a clear vision of what it was he was creating, then in no sense could it be considered something he made; it would have been the fire that made it. Once he knew what it was he was setting out to make, he harnessed aforce that Hashem created to bring about that result. In this case, the force was the fire bringing about the menorah.

This concept has great relevance to us, as there are many situations in which we reach a point where there is no clear path to follow – deciding from two almost identical career choices, determining which medical “expert” to listen to, deciding which school to enroll our children in, etc. – and we are obligated to be responsible, use our best judgment, and determine according to the ways of the world what is the best approach. Once we have reached that point, we “throw our clumpof gold intothe fire.” We rely on Hashem to bring about the results He has predetermined to be the best for us.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Predestination And Human Effort”

  1. Because the outcome's predetermined with respect to matters divine, the effort is irrelevant. Instead, one might deem th'Almighty's concern as principally preserving the separation of the galaxies, upon which our lives assuredly depend. That th'Almighty might not particularly care about us, at least about our bouts with gastrointestinal ailments, for example, would be unsurprising. We do possess abilities to alter the outcome of much in our lives; the proof of that is common experience. That our lives themselves are of little import when it comes to keeping the galaxies apart is equally obvious.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

The-Shmuz

What happened was that Frank Jr. stopped being the little babe looking with love into his father’s eyes, and the relationship took on a very different nature.

Is it possible a man could be standing in a burning building, knowing this life is in danger, and be too lazy to move?

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him.

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

When Hashem formed man, He gave him the keys to Creation. As the Midrash tells us, Hashem said to Adam, “This is your world now. You are in charge of it; take care that you don’t destroy it.”

Imagine a man who, after having a few too many drinks, gets into his car and begins driving. It takes a while before he is pulled over, but finally the police arrest him, and he stands trial for driving while intoxicated.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/predestination-and-human-effort/2013/02/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: