Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Old Hishtadlus Argument

I discovered that I have mixed emotions toward a few issues. That's normal, right?

Anyway, here's one I'm constantly debating in my mind.

A woman was telling me about her trip to Israel. She explained that she and her husband didn't wait in any long lines to see Gedolim because she didn't feel it was necessary.

B"H Parnassa isn't an issue, she has two children who will soon enter the "shidduch parsha," and B"H she is healthy.

Her rationale was, "why should I waste his time when people have real problems?"

On a similar note, when someone mentioned a shidduch meeting to her, she said that her daughter is still young, and did not want to waste others' time because it is not so pressing.

I admire her for that. She realizes that others are in more need than she is, and she shouldn't bother others with her "petty" issues.

On the other hand, why discount the value of a Bracha? Doesn't everyone need a bracha from time to time?

I know another woman who has been marketing her daughter like she's an old maid since the day she stepped off the plane from Seminary. Bugging everyone she knows, distributing resumes left and right...Is that "hishtadlus" or idiotic neurosis?

I'd still prefer the first woman's attitude.

One of my teachers in high school got engaged when I was in 10th grade. She had taught in the elementary school as well, and had gotten to know my grade very well. She about 26 at the time, she told us. She gave an emotional speech of what it took for her to come to this day in her life.

She had a copy of some Tefilla (was it Tefillas HaShlah?) and told us she had been saying it since her teacher gave it out in whatever grade it was. She distributed a copy, and convinced us that the reason she got engaged when she did was that she had said this tefilla daily since whenever.

What does that say about the many, many young girls who get engaged at 19 with nary a tefilla on their lips?

Had she gotten engaged at 26 regardless of whether she said the tefillah or not? Or had she not said the tefilla, would she have gotten married later? Did it really matter???

P.S. I'm not sure the two scenarios connected...but I still made my point, right? ;)

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19 Comments:

At 1/15/2008 9:38 PM, Anonymous pj-party said...

Can't resist being the first..lol

I don't know what's so complicated about these situations....its what ever you feel comfortable with. If you feel you can sincerely say that teffilah every day than you should if you have second thoughts and believe it shouldn't be done than don't. If everything had a simple answer and you had one person you asked all your questions to there would be no such thing as bechirah. And that's an important note that a lot of people don't think about!

 
At 1/16/2008 11:34 AM, Anonymous dd said...

i can hear the argument that with a limited resource let it go to the areas and causes that need it most
the time of the gedolim and their brachas are a limited resource so she feels that let it go to the more needy

however in terms of everything being well now so dont do anythig now seems too much.
BH right now all is good. Does she want it all to stay well then she should daven NOW
what if things CV take a turn for the worse the earlier tefilos and hishtadlus will come in handy

 
At 1/16/2008 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a lot to say about all these matters, and I'll get to them, but first, your teacher.

HOW THE HELL DOES SHE KNOW THAT THAT PRAYER IS WHY SHE GOT ENGAGED? I hope you're not that naive.

Bottom line - nobody knows which tefillos affect what, and anyone who says that he or she knows is a fool.

 
At 1/16/2008 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Second, this whole bracha business is exactly that - a business. You have to pay to get one. Gimme a break. Besides, the gemorrah says that even a blessing of a simpleton is worth something, so I agree with woman #1.

 
At 1/16/2008 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Third, the woman who is handing out her daughters' resumes is smart. With the shidduch crisis and all, you've got to be aggressive. That's hishtadlus. Paying a hundred bucks for a blessing or wearing a red string around your wrist is not. Apples and oranges.

 
At 1/16/2008 6:56 PM, Blogger frum single female said...

i think hishtadlus makes us feel better , but to simplify it and say that there is a perfect formula on how someone will find there is totally ridiculous. if there was a pat formula there would not be a shidduch "crisis"

 
At 1/17/2008 4:53 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Or, I guess, as they say, "sometimes the answer is 'no,' or 'not right now'.

 
At 1/17/2008 1:35 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Looking from outside the box, I question the efficacy of all magical thinking. People are most likely to succeed when they work towards their goals.

Banking on supernatural intercession to solve their personal problems is just silly.

 
At 1/17/2008 5:53 PM, Blogger Tova Stulman said...

Maybe the fact that the teacher did a mitzvah the Tuesday before she met the guy she got engaged to was the impetus- who know? Apparently, she thinks she does, and told you and your class that it was due to the tefila she's been saying for who knows how many years. It probably makes her feel better to assume she knows what brought something positive into her life, so let her think that, but I personally would roll my eyes at the comment. She doesn't know what G-d responded to unless she's clairvoyant.

 
At 1/19/2008 10:36 PM, Blogger Bas~Melech said...

I'm not G-d's accountant.
All I know is that there is power in prayer. It's not like a magic formula, that if you get this bracha or say this incantation then a specific thing will occur. But it is always good. It has effects both within the person who prays and in Heaven.

Same with brachas: I don't go running after them as a magic key to a result, but I treasure those that I receive. When I saw a certain gadol when I was still about 16, the first thing he said was that I should find a good shidduch easily. Did I say, "Well, I'm only 16, why waste your time?" Of course not. I said AMEN.

That said, I don't spend 24/7 with my nose in a tehillim or standing on lines to meet famous rabbis. I have a life. I do mine. And I pray.

 
At 1/23/2008 1:50 PM, Blogger AT PEACE said...

Bitachon vs. Hishtadlus is the biggest paradox.

Bitachon - Hashem orchestrates every single moment of our life. Hishtadlus - you have to do your part and try, you can't just sit back and not do anything.

Rabbi B. Shafier from The Shmuz has an interested parable for this:

How do they train tightrope walkers? They start with a lower rope, and they put a net a few feet under the rope so the person is less afraid because there's a net to catch him. Once the person learns how to balance properly, they remove the net from beneath him and he walks the rope 20 ft. above ground with nothing to catch him.

Hishtadlus is walking the tightrope, constantly balancing oneself as if there's no net to catch you. And Bitachon is all the while, knowing that there IS a net to catch you - Hashem!

This is the best explanation I've heard. Hope I explained it properly. I typed it quickly. (You can listen to his shmuz if you want, don't know what # it is, but i'ts called Bitachon vs. Hishtadlus.)

 
At 1/23/2008 4:51 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

At Peace: I understand what you're bringing out.
I think there's almost an amount of blind faith involved.
What if the net isn't properly secured???

 
At 1/23/2008 8:21 PM, Anonymous iyhbyyou said...

michelle,
of course there is an amount of blind faith involved in Judaism. if there wasn't blind faith and god was 100% provable then everyone would believe in Him; this is the entire point of religion: god tests out faith and our belief that there is a tightrope.

i think you should quickly post something else because this thread is leading to dumb responses.

 
At 1/23/2008 8:26 PM, Anonymous iyhbyyou said...

*"our" faith, not "out"

 
At 1/24/2008 5:33 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

IYH by you--- agreed.
Bli Neder when I have a chance to work on the many drafts I have sitting in my box of posts...

 
At 1/26/2008 1:50 PM, Blogger Nimrod said...

Unfortunately no really knows, and any attempt to prove the power of prayer will fail.

I think that people are being conned by paying for brachas and other magical items.

If your post convinces one person to save his/her hard earned money than the post was worth it.

 
At 2/04/2008 8:09 AM, Blogger ClooJew said...

The first woman you mention reminds me of a great story.

A man came to the rebbe to ask what name he should give to his newborn daughter.

"Cholent," the rebbe replied.

The man was aghast. "Um, cholent?"

"Yes," said the rebbe. "You heard correct. You should name her cholent. Everyone loves cholent. Everyone looks forward to chloent."

Not wanting to contradict his rebbe, the man gently protested, "I thought perhaps the rebbe would say Chana or Michal or Sarah."

"Oh," the rebbe said, "you have some names in mind already. So what are you bothering me for?!"

 
At 1/09/2013 12:09 PM, Anonymous Torresbjyj said...

Unfortunately no really knows, and any attempt to prove the power of prayer will fail. I think that people are being conned by paying for brachas and other magical items. If your post convinces one person to save his/her hard earned money than the post was worth it.  

 
At 5/15/2013 4:02 AM, Anonymous Stone said...

Looking from outside the box, I question the efficacy of all magical thinking. People are most likely to succeed when they work towards their goals. Banking on supernatural intercession to solve their personal problems is just silly.  

 

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