Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Divine Providence- a consequence of one's actions.

More on Hashgacha. Here is Rambam in Moreh 3:51 interspersed with my comments: (Rambam in Italics)

For it is known from statements made in Scripture that these four, viz., the Patriarchs and Moses, had their minds exclusively filled with the name of God, that is, with His knowledge and love; and that in the same measure was Divine Providence attached to them and their descendants.

In other words Hashgacha Pratis – Divine Providence - is dependent on how well one knows God.

When we therefore find them also, engaged in ruling others, in increasing their property, and endeavoring to obtain possession of wealth and honor, we see in this fact a proof that when they were occupied in these things, only their bodily limbs were at work, whilst their heart and mind never moved away from the name of God.

What does it mean to be heart and mind in close proximity to god?

I think these four reached that high degree of perfection in their relation to God, and enjoyed the continual presence of Divine Providence, even in their endeavors to increase their property, feeding the flock, toiling in the field, or managing the house, only because in all these things their end and aim was to approach God as much as possible.

In other words, being close to God is when one sets for oneself as a goal to approach Him as much as possible. And what does that entail? Now comes the key point:

It was the chief aim of their whole life to create a people that should know and worship God.

Divine providence is available to those who are close to God, and they are those whose goal it is to create a people of worshippers of God. How is someone whose chief aim is to create a people that worships God considered close to god? Isn’t being close to God knowing Him? Rambam closing idea in the Moreh 2:54 are:

…that the perfection, in which man can truly glory, is attained by him when he has acquired-as far as this is possible for man-the knowledge of God, the knowledge of His Providence, and of the manner in which it influences His creatures in their production and continued existence. Having acquired the knowledge he will then be determined always to seek loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, and thus to imitate the ways of God.

The process of attaining perfection is to learn about God and His ways with the goal to emulate His actions. Creating a people of worshippers is one way of emulating God’s actions. That is why the Patriarchs were close to God and were always under divine providence. There is a relationship between being under Hashgacha Pratis and one’s goals and actions. In other words if one understands God’s ways and emulates Him, that person can do no wrong. That is the protection that divine providence affords. That God created the world in this way and man with the ability to avail himself of that knowledge means that God did not abandon the earth and is Mashgiach on it. God being omniscient, this has been set in place at Creation; it is how the world operates.


  1. Do I understand you correctly that to the extent that one brings himself close to God and acts in His ways, that that in itself is Hashgacha Pratis?

  2. More or less. It also has to be getting close in the way I described through proper and correct speculation. I will also discuss good and bad tov vera which is also important in the equation.