web analytics
March 29, 2015 / 9 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Father Gabriel Naddaf with soldiers
It’s Hard to be a Christian Arab in Israel
Latest Judaism Stories
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.

Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

The-Shmuz

If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful.

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

While it may appear that man is in charge, Hashem orchestrates every activity on the planet

Hashem placed this world at man’s disposal. In a real sense, man is the steward of Creation.

He is fully aware that who he will be for eternity is in his hands.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: