web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



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.

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
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-092614

Perhaps the most important leadership lesson Elkana taught us is to never underestimate the difference a single person can make.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Rabbi Sacks

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

A Role Reversal
‘Return, O Wayward Sons…’
(Chagigah 15a)

When the Kleins returned, however, they were dismayed to see that the renters did a poor job cleaning up after themselves.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

As Moshe is about to die, why does God tell him about how the Israelites will ruin everything?

Jonah objected to God accepting repentance based on ulterior motives and likely for short duration.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

The-Shmuz

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

A replica reminds a person of the original. Granted it is in miniature, and granted no one would mistake it for the original, but it carries, almost in caricature form, some semblance of the original.

When a person feels he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty.

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot.

One of the manifestations of the immature person is a sense of entitlement.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: