At what point does destiny end, and freedom of choice begin? That means, how much is decreed by Hashem, and how much is left for our free-will?
Nobody knows, and that’s part of the test. We are expected to behave as if we are responsible for everything. Therefore, when a person has a fear about his health, he must take steps to investigate, and if necessary, to take medicine; he cannot say it’s the d’var Hashem and I will yield to it.
Now, in retrospect, when a person finally went through a certain experience, then he can say “Hashem was the One Who saved me.” Credit should always be given always to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. But we are expected to feel responsibility as if everything depended on us.
It’s a very important point and it’s a subject called hishtadlus and bitachon. And there’s always a tug of war: What is it? Is it hishtadlus, that we are expected to do, or is it bitachon, that we should just rely on Hashem? It’s never simple.
That’s why you have to try to make a living. Everybody should try to work and support himself, and not cast himself on Hashem. At the same time, השלך על ה’ יהבך – “Cast your trust on Hashem.” So while you’re working, and trying to support yourself, at the same time, you should have the attitude that Hashem is the One! הוא הנותן לך כח לעשות חיל – “He is giving you the strength to succeed.”
So it’s not an easy subject, it’s always complicated. That’s one of the great tests of life, and nevertheless, we’re expected to stand up and do the best of our ability.
TAPE # 924 (August 1993)