Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chinuch: Divine Providence applies only to man

Chinuch (#169): There are some groups that believe that Providence applies to every living creature - both man and animal. There are also those who extend Providence further and say it applies to every entity in the world - living or non-living. In other words they say that the smallest entity only moves as response to G-d’s will and decrees. They go so far as to say that even when a single leaf falls off a tree that G-d decreed that it should fall. That it is impossible that its falling be delayed and advanced by an instant. However such a belief is ridiculous - extremely far from human intelligence. There are also evil groups that assert that there is no such thing as Providence for anything in the world whether for people or the rest of living creatures. This view is the view of heretics and it is evil and bitter. However we Jews believe that Providence applies to living creatures only in general – other than man. In other words, the different species are sustained so that the species themselves don’t become extinct. In contrast we believe that regarding man that there is Providence for each and every person which varies according to his deeds. This teaching we know by tradition passed down by the great sages - as well as many verses that teach these principles.


  1. I have heard the "Providence causes leaves to fall" many times in Chabad circles. I think it comes from their Tanya Sefer.
    I am not a Chinuch person, but terhe are many random events, which if we see Providence in them, we would be led to insanity.

  2. The Rambam says something similar in Moreh. The achronim (R' Dessler, R' Tzadok, etc.) seems to say not that way. I have heard a lot of Rabbis try to say that really the Chinuch and the Rambam hold like the achronim, they just mean that the purpose of the hashgacha is not for animals. It sounds ridiculous to me, it seems like it's a full blown machlokes.


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