Efforts and Providence

(Based on the book Shamati)

One of the biggest challenges of Judaism, is how to reconcile "nonconcordial" - all predetermination and freedom of choice. It is believed that it is available only to the righteous and the greatest sages. But what about us, the ordinary people?

It says in Pirkei Avot: "If I am not for myself who will be for me, but if I have (only) for myself - what I?". And then there are two steps.

1. "If I am not for myself who will be for me?" - stage of perceiving the world through reward and punishment. In other words - "no one but me will not do for me."

2. "If I am only for myself - what am I?" - degree of perception of the world through personal Providence (Ashgaha Prat). In other words - all makes the Creator, and man can not do anything by himself.

The question arises: if everything is determined by Providence, then why stage of reward and punishment? The answer is: do not jump across the stage. Work on the stage of reward and punishment, makes it possible to grasp the Personal Providence (that everything is going to correction).

Said the Baal Shem Tov: before you do, think that the result depends on you. And when done - I believe that all did the Creator.