The first parts showed how covert miracles reveal the foundations of emunah and that through these miracles Hashem allocates reward and punishment for our deeds. In addition there is a Divine hanhogo called mazal which, the Ramchal explains, is the handing out of different duties to each person according to his neshomoh's root without connection to the reward and punishment that he deserves or that he gets in this world.
The first parts of this important essay also quoted the Ramban who said that the performance of miracles establishes basic principles of the Torah. However, covert miracles, which are performed by Hashem all the time in arranging the world in an appropriate way in response to the way people act in doing mitzvos, praying and so on, are also a basic foundation of Torah. Nonetheless, the justice in the way the world is run is not always apparent.
There are also sources in Chazal that say that important parts of life are dependent on mazal and not on zchus. One point is that Hashem does not forgo sins so that our reward will be complete. To ignore any sin would cast a severe pall over one's reward in the World of Truth. Also, Hashem established two ways of conducting the world: for those who can meet the high standard He employs the middas hadin as He "originally" thought in making the world, and for those who cannot meet this standard he uses a middas horachamim that is more lenient.
In this part the Mashgiach zt'l explains, among other matters, the correlation between reward and punishment and mazal, and the tikkun of gilgul.
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V: A Person's Mazal and Duty are Given Through Middas Hadin
When a neshomoh descends from Shomayim, Hashem endows it with its mission in life according to the hanhogo of mazal, as I explained above. The King of Kings, HaKodosh Boruch Hu, supplies the neshomoh with all its needs for avodas Hashem corresponding with its assigned mission. Hashem precisely provides its needs according to how "Hashem initially intended to create the world" — with middas hadin. Outfitting the neshomoh in such an exact way guarantees that not even one crumb of nohamo dekisufa (the bread of shame) will be mixed into its spiritual sustenance when it eventually returns to Shomayim.
For instance, the Creator will furnish someone whose mazal has decreed that he must undergo the Divine test of affluence with the exact measure of all required faculties to withstand that test. This person will be tested to see whether he will act cruelly towards a poor person who needs his help, or whether he will have pity on him. Likewise, a physically strong person is tested to see whether he will use his strength in the correct way. Hashem provides each individual with the ability to succeed in his personal Divine test. One can never claim that his riches or physical might created unsurmountable tests for him and these caused his failure.
The Mesillas Yeshorim (ch. 1) writes, "All things in the world are tests for man: poverty from one side, and affluence from the other." Man's task is to be an oved Hashem and to surmount these tests. Hashem created man with bechirah — a precisely equal, free choice to do either good or evil.
There is a particularly wonderful kind of avoda, one highly accepted by Hashem. This is when a Jew fulfills the Torah's mitzvos and toils over Torah studies with simcha, despite his poverty or affliction with suffering. This person does not complain about his trying conditions, but understands and accepts them with love. Such a person has indeed reached a high level of avodas Hashem.
There is an additional avoda greatly esteemed by Hashem, and that is when someone fulfills the Torah despite being rich. Despite his abundance of wealth he has not become arrogant and does not rebel against Hashem. This elevated person worships Hashem while remaining humble and unassuming. He does not use his riches to swim merrily within the pleasures of Olom Hazeh, but distributes money to strengthen Torah study and observance and help the needy.
Another towering avodas Hashem is when a person, albeit he has acquired much wisdom and is knowledgeable in the whole Torah, is modest, unpretentious, and sociable.
Another pure avoda treasured by HaKodosh Boruch Hu is when a Jew worships Him without philosophizing, but faithfully and completely doing His will without introducing any of his own calculations. And there are many other ways of avoda that Hashem favors.
Some people, according to the makeup of their nefesh — fitting their middos and natural strengths — can succeed in avodas Hashem while rich, but cannot possibly withstand the Divine test of poverty. Others have just the opposite character.
Likewise there are those who can naturally worship Hashem better without understanding profound philosophic concepts and deep chakiros about emunah — serving Hashem through temimus. If they were given profound wisdom they would use it for evil. Again, there are people who are just the opposite — each person has his own strength and weakness and is given situations accordingly.
Now we can better understand what the gemora (Niddah 16b) writes: "R' Chanina Bar Popo expounded: `The mal'ach appointed over pregnancy is called Lailah. It takes a drop [of male seed] and presents it before HaKodosh Boruch Hu and says to Him: "Ruler of the World! What will be from this drop? A strong or weak person, a wise or stupid person, someone rich or poor?"'"
Only Hashem is conscious of the kochos hanefesh (basic character traits) implanted in that drop. He knows the secret of the neshomoh's essence — which is about to descend from Shomayim into this body. Hashem resolves whether this person will be born in the mazal of poverty and his duty will be to worship Hashem through poverty, or if he will be weak and worship Hashem although sick and suffering. The Creator will bestow on him all that is needed for his particular avodas Hashem. Everything is done with justice, without, chas vesholom, any unfairness. (From this we see that, though one's specific situation in life is generally predetermined before he is born, yet he'll be judged completely in Olom Haboh by middas hadin relative to his conduct in this world. He will never be able to claim or feel that because of his particular situation in life he is being judged unfairly.)
Someone Who Cannot Carry Out His Duty According to Middas Hadin Receives New Strength Through Middas Horachamim
Man descends to this world with a free choice to do what he wishes. As a result he is susceptible to the yetzer's lures and may possibly not withstand temptation. Sometimes this indeed happens, and after man has sinned several times he beseeches Hashem to take away his poverty or sickness and furnish him with the means to serve Hashem more easily. This pertains to Chazal's teaching, "He saw that the world could not survive and joined the middas hadin to the middas horachamim."
HaKodosh Boruch Hu accepts man's tefillah and opens before him a way of avoda in which middas hadin and middas horachamim are combined, an avoda that he can cope with even after he has sinned.
We can again use the parable of the commander-in-chief fighting a war. Surely every commander under him is provided with soldiers and weapons according to the needs of the battle he has to fight. If, during the war, he realizes that the conditions of battle are deteriorating, so that he needs more soldiers and ammunition than he previously thought, and even if this was because of the commander's own mistaken strategy, his country will undoubtedly send him more means so that he (and the entire country) will not be defeated. (See also discourse 2 — Middas Hadin — section 12.)
How Fortunate is Someone Who Can Function According to Middas Hadin
R' Elazar ben Pedas was a tzaddik who walked before Hashem according to "the way Hashem initially considered creating man," with middas hadin — living according to pure middas hadin without any admixture of middas horachamim. As long as this mission in Olom Hazeh was allocated to him (and it was allocated to him at his birth, according to the hanhogo of mazal), he did not want to diminish it in the least. Because to the same extent that he would alleviate his burden with middas horachamim his sustenance in Olom Haboh would be mixed with nohamo dekisufa.
HaKodosh Boruch Hu therefore answered him: "Elazar, My son! Do you want me to turn over the world and create it anew? Then it might be that you will be created in an hour of mezonos." It was necessary to turn over R' Elazar ben Pedas's entire world and create it again (since Chazal surely do not mean that the whole world would need to be destroyed — see Maharsha). When he was created again, according to the need of the Creation at the time, his neshomoh would again descend to Olom Hazeh and the Creator would assign him duties fitting the hanhogo of that mazal relative to his own particular makeup as pertaining to the need of the world at that time [See also discourse 18 — Li Nokom VeShileim, section 3- 4].
Rovo's Request: To Be Given Rav Huna's Wisdom
We mentioned above what Rovo said (Mo'ed Koton 28a): "I asked three things of Shomayim. They gave me two and one they did not give me. They gave me the wisdom of Rav Huna and the affluence of Rav Chisda, but they did not give me the modesty of Rabbah bar Rav Huna." Rashi explains (in the Ein Yaakov version, that does not appear in our Shas): "The wisdom of Rav Huna, as is written above (25a), that he disseminated Torah in Yisroel."
Rav Huna was a marbitz Torah berabim. This surely means that Rovo's request was to be wise like Rav Huna and therefore be able to disseminate Torah just like him. He did not want his particular avodas Hashem to be eased, since he could withstand tests even when middas hadin ruled. On the contrary, Rovo wanted to increase his avodas Hashem. He wanted an avodas Hashem that would befit someone with greater wisdom that he had — someone who had wisdom like that of Rav Huna, and he would strive to fulfill the duties of one with that potential according to middas hadin. Rovo's other requests, too, should be understood in the same way.
HaRav Dovid Kronglas zt'l, was the Rosh Mesivta and Menahel Ruchani in Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore.
for Part V.