...Today in shul our Rav stressed the point that it's all in Hashem's hands. He was focusing on this rain situation. He said all the forecasting and other stuff is a bunch of nonsense. The entire idea of what we call "cause and effect" is nonsense. There is only 1 cause, and it is Hashem. If He wants it to rain, it will rain, and all the things you think you can do to bring it, conserve it, or whatever are futile...
This idea of completely negating the cause-and-effect of the natural world, and the function of physical endeavor, is entirely alien to the rationalist school of thought. Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein just wrote a superb post which included part of a mailing by Professor Menachem Kellner of the University of Haifa. I am also on Prof. Kellner's email list; he specializes in Maimonidean thought, and here is another extract from his latest mailing:
Rambam also made it clear that (just as traffic accidents don't just "happen," but are caused, so) most of the evil from which we suffer is the result of human stupidity and cupidity; the fires were started by stupid kids literally playing with fire, but they spread so disastrously because too many people were concerned with everything but fire prevention and fire fighting, and emergency response to challenges other than hostile attacks (earthquakes, for example - Israel sits on a major fault line). For the last several weeks the Minister of the Interior has devoted huge attention to denouncing his colleague MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem for the crime of pointing out that the Emperor was naked (=pointing out that maintaining the ideal that all men should spend all their time in yeshivot has no basis in Jewish history or law, runs against a long line of explicit legal pronouncements, and causes great suffering and pointless poverty). If some of that time and energy had been devoted to the job of overseeing the fire services and making sure they got the budgets they need, we might well be in better shape.
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