Thursday, March 08, 2007

On Hashgacha Pratis

(As seen on XGH's blog as a recent comment:)

I tend to look at 'hashgacha pratis' in the sense that if Jews, as a community, adhere to the lessons in Jewish tradition then, as a community, life will be good and pleasant and so on. It's a simple case of causality.

The wiser ones who understand more of 'God's ways' will be all the more able to understand how best to accomplish their goals and their life will likewise be all the more better for it.

No guarantees though.

12 comments:

Miri said...

mmmmm. hmmm. um. hashgacha pratis has long been a pet issue of mine, and one I've nearly given up on. I used to adhere adamnantly to the idea that there is no such thing as an accident. I certainly don't quite think that anymore. but I have a problem with the idea that G-d would be nice to us a community if we as a community behaved ourselves. what Jewish community, as a Jewish community, has ever really properly behaved itself? I just think G-d knows Jews too well to think that He would deem it wise to leave His treatment of individuals up to general community behavior.

Orthoprax said...

Miri,

"I have a problem with the idea that G-d would be nice to us a community if we as a community behaved ourselves"

No, perhaps I wasn't clear. If the community is composed of good people then you won't have criminals and therefore no crime. If everyone acts well to one another then life is more pleasant for everyone. This is what I meant.

Miri said...

oh, ok, I understand you now. but see, then, why call it hashgacha pratis and mix G-d up with everything? it just makes things more confusing.

Orthoprax said...

"why call it hashgacha pratis and mix G-d up with everything?"

Because God _is_ mixed up with everything. That's the point. Even cause and effect is a matter of our existence which is from God.

Miri said...

ok, so, then I didn't understand you. are you saying that if Jews adhere to Torah law, which is generally people being moral and civilized, the effect will be that life will be pleasant bc ppl are moral and civilized? or that, if Jews follow the law, which is to be moral and civilized, G-d will make things nice for us bc we were well behaved?

or some mixture of the two by means of invoking the whole G-d is everything; therefore we and everything we do and everything that happens is also Him bc everything is Him?

Orthoprax said...

Miri,

I didn't say specifically 'Torah law' but rather to live the lessons in Jewish tradition, which, in this topic, is speaking generally about the ethical lessons.

And, yeah, I would phrase it in such a way that describes the conflux where God isn't a reacting being, but rather acting through the natural system of cause and effect.

Miri said...

meaning that G-d created a state of the universe whereby being good causes goodness? see but then, that leads you into the whole why do bad things happens to good people area, which is shady and messy and ichy.

Orthoprax said...

No guarantees.

Miri said...

ah but that's the easy way out.

alex said...

"I tend to look at 'hashgacha pratis' in the sense that if Jews, as a community, adhere to the lessons in Jewish tradition then, as a community, life will be good and pleasant and so on. It's a simple case of causality."

I usually think of "pratis" as pertaining to the individual, ("detail") not the community. Maybe you should call it "hashgacha klalis"?

As far as Miri's question is concerned, the Bible does mention several decade-long periods when things were going swimmingly. One would suppose that the Jewish community was doing right in God's eyes during (at least for part of) that period.

Orthoprax said...

Alex,

"I usually think of "pratis" as pertaining to the individual, ("detail") not the community. Maybe you should call it "hashgacha klalis"?"

Perhaps so. I hadn't really thought about what the words meant specifically and was writing as if they simply meant 'providence.'

Miri said...

Alex
there were decades when G-d wasn't feeling the need for mass destruction, killing, and general suffering. does that mean that the community was well-behaved, or just not being over on any of the Big Three? or any of the other little ones that irritate G-d like sinaat chinam.
I guess it's theoretically possible that there were instances of well behaved communities but especailly since the destruction of the second Temple, I would venture to say that such phenomena are rare.