[Avodah] Fwd (JID): "Who Says There Are No Coincidences?"

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Thu Mar 7 14:51:00 PST 2013

On Thu, Mar 07, 2013 at 06:22:55PM +0200, Simon Montagu wrote:
: On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 2:56 PM, Kenneth Miller <kennethgmiller at juno.com>wrote:
:> Coincidentally enough, a few minutes ago, I happened to chance upon an
:> article by Rav Yissocher Frand of Ner Yisrael in Baltimore, about Parshas
:> Vayikra. Regarding the small Aleph in the first word, he wrote: "With the
:> Jewish people, there is no such thing as 'Vayiker' (happenstance). ...
:> there are no coincidences."

: I wonder how he understands Ruth 2:3

That, like every other use of the word "miqreh", means that it seemed
coincidental, but it was part of Hashem's plan for her to end up in
Boaz's field. Since it obviously was, this seems to be the meaning even
if coincidences do exist in general.

Personally, I don't believe in them because of Chaos Theory, as often
illustrated by "The Butterfly Effect". If there were anything whose
final outcome wasn't influenced by HQBH, how could there be anything
whose final outcome was? All events interact and interplay.

Which is also how I can believe that people have free will in terms of
what they do, but can have bitachon that everything that occurs to them
is hashgachah. A person has the choice to interject one vector into the
mix; weaving them into a total package is Hashem's orchestration.

(And yes, even before the modern period, most rishonim did believe that
all events that impact people were guided by hashgachah peratis.)

That's not a "survey" answer, trying to fit this rishon or that. It's
what from the chulent of Jewish Thought strikes me personally as true.

On Wed, Mar 06, 2013 at 03:22:52PM -0600, Lisa Liel wrote:
> I always understood the idea as being related to "ein mazal l'Yisrael".
> That is to say, for Jews, possibly excepting those who are porek ol,
> hashgacha pratit operates on a very tight level.  That the ordinary laws
> of history and nature don't apply to us.  The example I always heard was
> lottery tickets, the idea being that when a non-Jew buys a lottery
> ticket, he wins or loses based on probability.....

Ein mazal leYisrael doesn't mean that necessarily a nakhri's life is
dictated by luck. That's the converse, not the contrapositive, of
the aphorism.

    Given: Every X is Y
then the contrapositive would be
    Whenever not-Y, it can't be an X.
and the contrapositive is always as true as the given. The converse
would be
    Every not-X is not-Y
which could be true or not.)

And if you're willing to except the Jew who is poreiq ol, what about
the chasid umos ha'olam?

In any case, given that stars and constellations move in known calculable
patterns (and the amoraim knew them as attached to a solid dark raqia,
even if Rashbi did not -- Bereishis Rabba 6), I don't think "mazal"
means luck. More like destiny.

I would take "ein mazalos leYisrael" to mean that Jews (or maybe just
those who didn't lose their guarantee on olam haba) make their own lives,
and are not subject to predestination.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             If you won't be better tomorrow
micha at aishdas.org        than you were today,
http://www.aishdas.org   then what need do you have for tomorrow?
Fax: (270) 514-1507              - Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

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