[Avodah] Bereishit

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon Nov 26 12:26:21 PST 2018

On Sun, Nov 25, 2018 at 06:37:28PM -0500, Zvi Lampel wrote:
:> This was already answered. The mistake people make in the more famous
:> Rambans that created the popular notion that he says everything is a
:> miracle is really the Ramban saying everything, even nature, is directly
:> from G-d.

: Ramban is not talking about everything. He is talking about the
: miracle of Hashem making Nature respond to human behavior (whereas
: otherwise he has the world follow the path of nature established at
: Creation). He does not mention whether Hashem does this directly or
: uses intermediaries.

Except that he calls it a neis. It can't both be Divine Intervention
AND left to metaphysical mechanics.

I mentioned that RDBerger et all never go around back to the first
Rambans they discuss to explain what they do mean after all. He does
deny teva in the famous comment at the end of parashahs Bo (13:16)
<https://www.sefaria.org/Ramban_on_Exodus.13.16.1> (where he
refers you back to comments on Beresishis 17:1 and Shemos 6:2).

For that matter, he even denies teva in the sense of minhago shel olam:

   From the great and famous nissim a person comes to agree in [the
   reality of] nissim hanistarim with is the yesood haTorah. For a
   person has no cheileq beToras Mosheh Rabeinu until he believes that
   all our things and everything that happens to us are all nisim,
   they have no teva and minhago shel olam, whether in a group or alone.

And then, as he says just a bit later, after saying that everything fits
sekhar va'onesh, "hakol begezeiras Elyon."

Everything. Even the things the Rambam himself says later are left to teva.
We have to close the circle somehow.

Teva = nisim nistarim. Nistar through allowing patterns, minhago shel olam.

:> Which is not in contradiction to what I wrote. A minhag is a pattern
:> of behavior. Not a "thing". Teva isn't someTHING Hashem made that
:> behaves in certain ways and causes physical objects behave in certain
:> ways.
: I really do not comprehend this distinction--if Hashem decreed that
: it should be the normal pattern of behavior of an apple tree to grow
: apples, how is this any different from saying ‎Hashem created the
: behavior of an apple tree as a ‘’thing’’ that makes it grow apples?)

According to the Rambam, teva is the work of sikhliim nivdalim -- mal'akhim
and the active intellect. Hashem made a machine, and the machine runs on
its own -- except for those who can connects to the Reality beyond the
machine through knowing the Borei. (Moreh 3:18)

According to the Ramban, teva is begezeiras Elyon. Directly from
G-d. Neis. That's how it is in response to what we earned or what
we need. This neis is usually nistar, hidden in predictable patterns
(minhago shel olam) -- and those patterns we call "teva".

(I think this description of the Ramban is the belief most of us leave
yeshiva day school with.)

: Again, both RambaN and RambaM maintain that at Creation Hashem
: imbued the components ‎of the world with their normal natures...

You say that, but I don't see it in the Ramban. Physics does not
inhere in physical objects, it inheres in Hashem's Will for His
Action to be hidden by routine.

: Rambam additionally talks about the indirect mechanism being that
: Hashem first created things/forces that produced these natures, and
: ‎RambaN does not. But I do not see RambaN making a point of
: disputing the RambaM on this. ‎He simply does not discuss it.

But what could the Ramban mean by everything being neis and gezeiras
Elyon if we were to assert that he does believe that intermediate sikhliim
are the gears and springs of a watch that usually runs on its own?

: But even if RambaN also disagreed with RambaM, I do not see why you
: should frame the disagreement in terms of whether nature is a
: ‘’thing’’ or not. RambaM uses no such language. ‎Nature is as much
: of a ‘’thing’’ to RambaN as it is to RambaM...

Except that one calls it a product of the Seikhel haPoal, and the other
says it's all neis and gezeiras Elyon, even the things that aren't nissim
in the usual sense.

:> To the Ramban, the question of teva vs neis is whether the situation
:> calls for HQBH breaking His minhagim.
: To the Rambam, as well.

To the Rambam, it is whether the people invovolved have the yedi'ah
necessary to circumvent the action of the Seikhel haPoal.

: You want to say Ramban was mistaken in saying, without
: qualification, he agreed with the Rambam?

The context of the Ramban's statement is qualification enough. He is
saying that on the topic of whether hashgachah peratis is universal,
he agrees with the Rambam that it isn't. No more, no less.

Just as he didn't mean he agrees with the Rambam's that sekhar is
hashgachah, but onesh is being abandoned to teva. To the Ramban, a person
who deserves Hashem's aid in correcting himself will get oneshim from
Him as needed.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A wise man is careful during the Purim banquet
micha at aishdas.org        about things most people don't watch even on
http://www.aishdas.org   Yom Kippur.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                       - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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