Are You in Control

By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui


The Talmud talks about the influence and predictable behavior of someone born on different days of the week and different hours of the day. One born on Wednesday will be wise and radiant. Someone born in the sixth hour of the day under the influence of Mars will be a shedder of blood.

Pharaoh had the boys thrown in the river because his astrologers informed him that the Jews’ redeemer would die by water. In fact, this prophecy referred to when Moses hit the rock and as a result, he passed away in the wilderness. They were right. Moses was somehow stuck to this predetermined fate of his.

The Talmud says,” a first wife is predetermined.”  Rashi says, regarding a different issue, “Since his flow from above has turned sour, difficulty and hardship are prone to come upon him.” Tough luck?

Rabbi Elazar ben Pedas was extremely poor. On one occasion after letting out blood, (an ancient health remedy) he had nothing to eat to regain his strength. He took a clove of garlic and became faint and fell asleep.

The rabbis who came to visit him saw that while he was sleeping he was crying and laughing and that a ray of light was radiating from his forehead. When he awoke they asked him. Why he had been crying and laughing. He answered. “G-d was sitting with me” and I asked Him: “How much longer will I suffer in poverty?” G-d said:”‘Elazar my son. Would you like me to return the world back to its beginning and recreate it so that perhaps you would be born at a time that is more favorable for livelihood?”

I replied to G-d that it seemed, despite all this effort of creating the world anew it would only be a “possibility” that my life would be better? I asked Him then “Which is longer. The life I have already lived or what I still have to live?” He answered: “The life you have already lived.” Rabbi Elazar decided that since he had already lived most of his years and starting all over again gave him only the possibility of a better lot, he declined the offer.

On the other hand it is written, that through prayer and good merit a person can change his preordained fate. It is written, if a person changes his name, or his place of living this can help change his lot. When G-d told Abraham he would be the father of a great nation, Abraham said, “I can see in my star that I am not predestined to have children.” G-d responded to Abraham (G-d didn’t say what Abraham saw was wrong but said.) “I will move over your star from the west to the east and then you will be able to have children.”

The granddaddy interpretation of quantum physics is that a person’s consciousness affects the behavior of one’s reality. We see this in Jewish law in many places. One example is that the new month can only begin when witnesses testify to the new moon and the tribunal decides and determines the new moon.

So a person does influence his condition?

Hillel the Elder was coming along the road and as he approached his hometown he heard the sound of screaming in the city. With conviction and certainty, he declared, “I am confident that this [screaming] is not [coming from] within my home.”

The Talmud appropriated a verse from Psalms to Hillel’s confidence: Of evil tidings he will have no fear; his heart is firm, confident in G-d (Psalms 112:7).

The Malbim writes, it is this sincere faith in G-d  (expressed in some kind of physical act) that changes a person’s fate and fortune for the good. Yes, there is a pattern and natural order G-d has put in place. However, when a person connects himself with the One in charge, all kinds of changes become possible.


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