By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
One of the great principles taught by the Baal Shem Tov was that everything in this world is by Divine providence. Nothing happens just because, and everything down to the smallest detail in the universe is designed and intended by G-d.
Therefore it follows, taught the Baal Shem Tov everything a person sees or hears, is a message from G-d to this individual through this experience.
I was walking to Synagogue this past Saturday and I happened to walk by this beautifully constructed spider web, attached between two branches, glistening in the morning sun. Right there in the middle of the web was the cutest spider ever. I guess he/she was waiting for either breakfast or lunch.
It got me thinking about the way G-d designed this magnificent creature. It has been preprogrammed to act in a certain way in order to attract its sustenance, no different than any other animal who is born with, their method of bringing in the food. A little effort on their end and, voila the food, just enough for the next meal and maybe the meal after that.
G-d designed the entire universe in a way that all is provided for. It’s built in. The sun shines and offers its energy all on its own. The water rises and becomes rain all on its own, preprogrammed. Even when it comes to man the Talmud says, before the baby is born an angel comes before G-d and asks,” this baby will it be wise or not so wise, rich or poor…however whether it will be good or not, is not determined.” In another place the Talmud says, “Everything is in the hands of heaven except for the fear of heaven.”
The truth of the matter is that whatever we’re meant to have will come one way or the other. Why then did G-d give us a mind? That seems to be the whole problem. If we were not able to think so much, like we humans are able to think, we would go about like the spider creating whatever it takes to get lunch and there wouldn’t be that much jealousy, worry, stress, anxiety, depression, and the whole works!
We decide, to work harder than we should, at the expense of our relationships, children, communities, religion, hoping to make it big. Real big. In the interim all those other parts to our lives are robbed of their allotted time and attention and in the end we can’t make more than what G-d pre-determined.
We get stressed out, worrying we haven’t saved enough for our children’s college fund and retirement when the Talmud says, “ whoever has enough food for today and is worried about tomorrow, he is from the small believers.”
Like everything else G-d created out of His Kindness, for the good, He granted us the ability to independently think. We are uniquely endowed with the ability to know that we exist, so we could have the possibility to choose between good and bad, and earn eternal reward for ourselves.
This gift is meant for our own good. However for it to be the gift that it is meant to be, we can waste the intended purpose and use the ability to think to our own detriment.
We work, not because otherwise how would G-d give us money. The Bible says we are obligated to work so we can transform the work place to a G-dly atmosphere and environment, by being honest and a good example to others. A person never makes money. He goes to work in order to receive what G-d wants him to receive.
When a person understands this principle, that our only role is to always make the right choice between good and bad as described in G-ds book, and leaves the rest up to G-d, life becomes like the little cute spider, stress-free and worry-free, filled with satisfaction and happiness every time we used our G-d given gift to choose, for the good.
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