Friday, June 20, 2008
Clarifying How/Why the Rambam Does Not Truly Deny Individual Providence Overy Every Detail of Creation
From the Comment Section of THIS POST from two days ago:
Here's the/a resolution, to understanding the Rambam and other Rishonim who stated there's Hashgacha Pratis (HP) only on humans in general, limited HP on some humans, and no HP, only Hashgacha Klalis (General Providence - "HK") or HM (Hashgacha Minis, species-wide Providence - "HM") on tzomeich, chai and domem (plants, animals and inanimate objects). This is different (though not conflicting) with the two resolutions I brought in the main post.
General Principal: Rishonim & earlier Acharonim almost always spoke about the level which human beings can have some understanding of, and not necessarily what exists as true reality. However, they were not speaking on the level of those things which we have no understanding of.
Application: They denied hashagacha pratis on every detail of creation when speaking on a level that people can understand. That is because hashgacha on leaves falling or animals dying is something that we can have no understanding of. For example, we may be able to have some understanding of why one person dies and why another person lives. We can understand the concept that, for example, that because of something from a previous gilgul, this person had to die, while that person, for another reason, had to live. However, we have no context in which to put why Hashem causes one animal to live but another to die at a particular time. Al achas kama v'kama with regard to tzomeich and domem. Since HP on these things is beyond the capacity of human beings to even partially understand, they denied its existance in their writings because they were only speaking about the level about which people can understand.
However, the Baal Shem Tov, who came much later, and those subsequent to him blazed a new derech in teaching. Which was to speak about what exists in reality, even even about those concepts that people can have no real hasaga of, like HP on chai, tzomeiach and domem.
This would explain why the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt"l, stated that the Baal Shem Tov was a Chiddush. He was indeed a huge chidush in that he began expressing true reality, while earlier Rishonim and Acharonim had b'shita, only addressed asepcts of reality which people could have *some* understanding of. This would also show why he was not contradicting himself when he distinguished between the Rambam and the Baal Shem Tov's opinion to show why they were not contradictory. If you were correct about the LR's opinion, then his statemetns that the Besht was a chidush and his statement that he was *not* in conflict with the Rambam would have been self contradictory in the same Sicha.
When comenting on the Rambam's statement that everything happens with Hashem's will You have really said all that I am trying to say as well because pointed out that whether it's HP or HM/HK, everything does happen through Hashem's will. Why? Because Hashem "knows" everything and if he created HP or HM or HK, He created the whole world and every individual plant, animal, rock and person knowing where in that "automatic system" he would put them, and thus created them lechatchila knowing every detail that would happen to them through the system. Thus he decreed that all of these details happen to them, and that could indeed be what he means when he says that *everything* happens with Hashem's will. Thus whether Hashem decreed each detail of creation to take place via HP, or HM/HK, it's really only a minor semantic difference in reality since in either case, every detail is decreed about everything that happens in the Briah.
Thus there really is no machlokes between the Rambam & the Baal Shem Tov. The Rambam, with all of his strongly worded denials of the "every leaf" theory and its applications by Mohammedan Ashariyah (that Reb Jonathan Baker quoted), was speaking about a certain level of reality. i.e. that level of reality which we can have some hasaga of.
Besides all of this, it's a logical imposibility for hashgacha pratis over every detail not to be true. Hashem is infinite. If Hashem were to literally not control at all certain aspects in the universe, then his Presence would be absent from that "place" in creation. (And if He controls every specific detail "directly" through HP or "indirectly" through HK/HM, his control is still there.) Therefore, Hashem's infinite nature precludes the absence of HP over every detail in actual reality.
Also, Chazal say "oseh b'chol yom ma'aseh breishis." If the universe could exist independently on any level, Hashem wouldn't need to recreate the world at every moment. Since Hashem is infinite, there can be no independent existance to any part of creation and therefore it can only continue to exist because Hashem continues to will it to exist at every moment, thus recreating every detail of creation at every moment. Therefore, his contorl over all of creation exists at eveyr moment since He is constantly recreating it in its present state at all times. It is seen from this that He is recreating everything in the way that He wants it at all times. While a skeptic might ta'anah that He only re-creates it in the way that it would exist according to a natural system that He set up "earlier," this would only beg the question. Since he knows the system lechatchila, choose what to create when, and recreates the system at every moment, He's essentially decreeing every detail at every moment, regardless of the means (HP or HM/HK).
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