Thursday, July 21, 2022

Jews and mazel

 Meiri (Shabbos 156): …. The gemora here says that in general Jews are not controlled absolutely by mazal. Don’t pay attention to the alternative view that says that Jews are in fact controlled by mazal. That view is the result of some of the sages became confused after they saw the lack of order in the manner of mankind’s reward and punishment. This confusion is also manifest in Moed Koton(28a) which states that “Lifespan, children and livelihood are not the result of merit but rather mazal.” This statement was made only because the author saw someone who was a tzadik and great scholar who was unsuccessful in these three areas.Another one of these confused sages stated in Bava Kama (80b): “A door which is locked is not readily opened” and “All those who suffer misfortune do not quickly obtain good fortune” while another one of this group said, “He will never obtain good fortune” . This statement was only made because of bad personal experience as the gemora itself concludes that it was not a general rule but he was only describing his own personal experience. All this shows that these statements asserting the importance of mazal were only made in response to their authors’ personal experiences or what they observed with others. Thus these are only exceptions to the general rule that “Jews are not governed by mazal.” In other words reward and punishment typically determines what happens to a person and not mazal. Our gemora here (Shabbos 156a) provides testimony concerning incidents predicted by astrologers such as being on the verge of death and yet nevertheless being saved through the merit of giving charity. There is no need to repeat the events described in this gemora because they are clearly stated.

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