900.20e General Providence (p.146)
hard cover page 146
In our schema God manifests His care and concern for humanity-His Providence -by allowing mankind to develop in freedom and reach its fullest cosmic potentialities.569 According to Aristotle, Providence extends only to entities that are eternal, e.g., the moon (Aristotle’s assumption of the eternality of astronomical phenomena was, of course, incorrect.) Providence is manifested in laws of nature and is expressed in the constancy of these laws in their operation of the wonderment of creation. A state of Hester thus de facto brings Providence somewhat closer to the Aristotelian formulation.
Hester Panim is not a rejection of the original beri’ah (creation): this would destroy the world. Instead it is the undoing of the restraints and controls of yetzirah (formation) while God still
remains the sustainer of creation.
If one wishes to challenge our thesis on the (incorrect) grounds that it denies Providence , 571 one might be missing the larger meaning of Providence. For the ultimate Providence may be in securing mankind’s freedom and potential for (primarily spiritual) growth and ultimate perfection, an attainment conceivably possible only in an environment of proportionate contracted real-time omniscience.
According to Philo, the miracles worked by God in nature and the miraculous power of the freedom of the human mind are two forms of the same Providence by which God governs the world. 572
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569 Gordis, A Faithfor Moderns, p. 26 1.
570 Besdin, Reflections of the Rav, p. 36.
571 See Berkovits, With God in Hell, p. 116. “As they were leading Rabbi Shalom Eliezer Halberstam, the Ratzfirter Rebbe, to be killed, an SS officer approached him and said: ‘I see your lips are moving in prayer. Do you still believe that your God will help you? Don’t you realize in what situation the Jews find themselves? They are all being led to die and no one helps them. Do you still believe in divine providence?’ To which the Rebbe replied: ‘With all my heart and all my soul I believe that there is a Creator and that there is a Supreme Providence.’ ”
572 Wolfson, Religious Philosophy, p. 260.
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