Monthly Archives: July 2016

Derech Hashem 2:3:7

2:3:7

It’s important to know that G-d oversees each and every particular person’s 1 precedents and antecedents, and supervises all of the elements involved when He interacts with us with an eye toward the big picture and with a view as to how they’re all interconnected 2.

As such, every individual is judged with his ancestry, his progeny, and his own situation and circumstances in mind. And he’s only handed his charges, challenges, and unique path in serving G-d after all of that’s taken into account 3.

But that’s only true of his worldly situation. The truth is that one’s situation in the World to Come will only be determined by his or her own actions. That’s why the prophet said that “a son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and a father shall not bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself (alone), and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself (alone)” (Ezekiel 18:20) 4 .

So if it’s decided, for example, that someone is to be born wealthy and powerful, then his children will be wealthy, too, unless their situation changes 5, and they’d only be wealthy in this instance because of him. (The same idea is in place when it comes to poor parents and their children.)

Indeed, parents endow their children with a number of things, our sages pointed out 6. So, one can be born into good circumstances thanks to his parents’ situation or sometimes because of his parents’ merits, or into bad ones for those same reasons. Or he can be worthy of success for his own children’s sake. It’s also true that a person could succeed or fail because of his environment or associates 7.

Footnotes:

1                And thing’s …

2                That is, while we only take our own situations into account when we consider our standing, G-d is like a chess-master who oversees each piece in relation to the others and moves with an eye toward positioning and the endgame.

See Da’at Tevunot 124 where Ramchal likens the workings of the universe to a clock whose pieces all work together in synch and with close, precise interaction.

3             Also see 2:3:1 above and 2:3:10 below.

4                That is, one’s worldly standing is influenced by many factors, as each one of us is part of the community at large and is judged in regard to his or her place in it; but one’s eternal standing is rooted in his or her own efforts alone.  For, while we’re all cogs in the wheel of history, we’re each the lone factor in our own existential standing.

5                That is, unless other things factor into their worldly standing that leave them undeserving of wealth.

6                I.e., their looks, strength, wealth, intelligence, and longevity (Eduyot 2:9).

7                So, not only do the people we’re most attached to affect our situations — oftentimes situations and people we don’t even know about factor into it.

 (c) 2016 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

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AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Preview of 2:3:7

Preview of 2:3:7

G-d oversees each element’s precedents and antecedents with an eye toward the big picture and to the connection of all the elements.

As such, everyone is judged with his ancestry, progeny, situation and environment in mind, and is handed his own charges, etc. after all of that’s taken into account.

But that’s only true of his worldly situation. One’s situation in the World to Come will only be determined by his or her own actions.

So if it’s decided that someone is to be born wealthy, then his children will be wealthy, too, as a rule. But the latter would only be wealthy (or poor, in those circumstances) because of their parentage.

So, one can be born into good or bad circumstances thanks to his parents’ situation or their merits. Or he can be worthy of success for his children’s sake. It’s also true that a person could succeed or fail because of his environment or associates.

ז.  עוד צריך לדעת, שהנה ההשגחה העליונה, בכל פרט מהפרטים, משגחת על כל הנקשר בו מן הקודמים ומן המאוחרים. וסוף דבר, משגחת בהשגחת כל פרט על כל הכלל כלו, מצד כל מה שמתיחסים כל החלקים עם כל חלק לבנינו של הכלל.

וממה שיושקף בדינו של איש מהאישים, הוא מדריגתו ומצבו במה שקדמו לו, דהיינו האבות, ובמה שיתאחרו לו, דהיינו הבנים, ומה שעמו, דהיינו בני הדור או בני העיר או בני החברה. ואחר כל ההשקפות האלה, יוגזר עליו החלק בעבודה ובנסיון שזכרנו למעלה, ויותן לו המשא לעבוד לפניו ית’.

ואולם הנך רואה שזהו רק בענין הדין של העוה”ז, והוא מה שאמרתי שיוגזר עליו החלק בעבודה, דהיינו באיזה מצב ימצא בעוה”ז, שכפי אותו המצב, כך יהיה המשא שעליו. אך לעוה”ב אין אדם נידון אלא לפי מעשיו, כפי המצב שהיה בו, והוא מ”ש הנביא, בן לא ימות בעון האב.

וזה, כי הנה אם יזכה אדם שתפסק לו גדולה ועושר, הנה בניו יולדו עשירים, ואם לא יתחדש עליהם ענין, יהיו עשירים ובעלי גדולה, וכן להפך. נמצא שלא הגיע העושר ההוא לאותם הבנים, אלא מצד היותם בני אותם האבות. ואולם אמתת הענין כך הוא, שהאדם זוכה לבניו בחמשה דברים שמנו ז”ל, וכבר אפשר שיולד אדם בטובה, מצד היות אביו כבר מוחזק בה, ואפשר גם כן שמצד זכות אביו, תגיע לו טובה בזמן מן הזמנים או להיפך. ומצד אחר, אפשר שתפסק הצלה או טובה לו על זרע שעתיד לצאת ממנו. וכן מצד מקומו או חברתו, אפשר שתפסק עליו טובה או רעה מטובות העוה”ז ורעותיו:

(c) 2016 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.