Are You An Apikores?

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  • #1331064

    mw13
    Participant

    Are You an Apikores?
    Take mw13’s quick test!

    1) Do you believe that your financial success is ultimately determined by:
    A) How hard you work
    B) Your education and/or natural smarts
    C) How much your boss likes you
    D) How the market does
    E) Hashem

    2) Do you believe that your health & wellbeing is ultimately determined by:
    A) Your diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices
    B) Advances in medical knowledge
    C) Genetics
    D) Dumb luck
    E) Hashem

    3) Do you believe that the security situation in Israel is ultimately determined by:
    A) The valiant efforts of the IDF
    B) The decisions of the upper political echelons of the Israeli government
    C) The support and opinion on the US and the EU
    D) A complex and interrelated web of geo-political factors beyond anyone’s control
    E) Hashem

    #FoodForThought
    #DoYouBelieve?

    #1331134

    R4nd0m3x
    Participant

    2 – A and E (Statistically, there’s B and E, but I think those also fall under E.)

    #1331151

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    2) Do you believe that your health & wellbeing is ultimately determined by:
    A) Your diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices
    B) Advances in medical knowledge
    C) Genetics
    D) Dumb luck
    E) Hashem

    I am willing to bet that someone who eats foods high in fats and lots of sugar like candy and Coke and sits down all day will not be as healthy as someone who exercises 1 hour a day and eats alot of vegetibles and drinks water. I am also willing to bet that a non-smoker is healthier than a smoker

    #1331224

    Avi K
    Participant

    1. All of the above. Hashem works through nature. He also wants us to do as much as we can. In fact, Chazal call a miracle “troubling” Hashem.

    2. Same.

    3. Same.

    #1331255

    PosterGirl
    Participant

    Avi K very well said, but please notice the question was what UTLIMATELY determines……
    so of course that’s hashem
    there are health nuts who exercise and eat only …….. but have r’l gotten sick
    there are smart, talented, hardworking pple who just cant make ends meet

    etc

    #1331243

    jakob
    Participant

    every person needs to do their hishtadlus in life (which in these questions are all the choices besides Hashem) but the real answer for each question in “do you believe?” is HASHEM

    i.e. from your physical yetzer hara department you are convinced that all the work & effort in everything you do in life is what brings you the success but we all know the truth that all hatzlacha comes directly from Hashem just through different messengers to get it to you & in different ways (ex. 1 person makes his money through a rich smart investment which involves little time cause he knows how to spend his time wisely & is not in need to be kept busy to keep him away from sin. 2nd person gets his parnassa from kollel support from in-laws because he is spending his time with Hashem learning & his in-laws are making EXTRA income from Hashem to be able to also support their new son-in-law. 3rd example is a simple person working in a store thats makes just enough to make ends meet & works full time very busy, cause he is needed to keep busy away from sin C”V & is not holding by being responsible to run his own business cause then it will cause him to feel great & forget that his parnassah comes all straight from Hashem)

    #1331282

    yekke2
    Participant

    The Chofetz Chaim once sent someone (I’m pretty sure it was R’ Elchonon, but not positive) collecting, with the mission to raise 50,000 rubles (Insert your own denomination here). The emissary went on his bidding, and tried his hardest to raise the money – to no avail. He returned empty handed to the Chofetz Chaim. As he came in, a rich man entered and gave the C”C 50,000 rubles – the exact amount they needed. Disheartened at the waste of time and energy, he complained to the Chofetz Chaim.

    The Chofetz Chaim explained that all hishtadlus is like that – our obligation is to perform the token effort necessary to achieve the results – and then Hashem gives what you need, which is totally unrelated to the actual effort. The results are not consequences of the efforts.

    This is the huge nisayon of Hishtadlus – to be able to see through the smokescreen of hester and dispell the illusion of כחי ועצם ידי – the feeling of success when your efforts succeed – and see that everything comes from Hashem, no matter how hard or little you try.

    #1331298

    Avi K
    Participant

    Poster, how do you define “ultimately”? Suppose Hashem decided that if Reuven will write a decent resume, dress presentably and speak well at the interviews he will get a certain job. If Reuven does not fulfill any of those conditions who “ultimately” lost the job for him?

    #1331301

    Avi K
    Participant

    Yekke, I doubt the exactness of your story (but then I often doubt the exactness of stories). If Hashem decided that a person should do X amount of hishtadlut and he does not could it be said that he did not get the parnassa because Hashem was displeased with his laziness (on this see Mishlei 6:6-11).

    #1331333

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    1. All of the above
    2. A, B, C, E
    3 A, B, D , E (a little bit of C depends what you mean by “Security situation”

    how did I do?

    #1331296

    Joseph
    Participant

    We’re waiting for mw13 to return to this thread to tally up the apikorsum here.

    #1331459

    golfer
    Participant

    mw13 it was nice of you to make us a quiz. I enjoyed reading eberyone’s answers.
    Ultimately (to borrow a word from your quiz) HKB”H decides what level of Emunah we attained, or if ch”v someone has failed.
    We live in the age of the quick fix and instant gratification so I can see where you’d want to take a quiz, tally the results and give yourself a score. IRL we face nisyonos every day and sometimes have to make tough choices regarding hishtadlus in different areas. Sometimes it’s easy. Don’t smoke, keep weight reasonable, exercise – no brainers. How many hours a day to work and how many hours a day to learn? Not as easy.
    Your quiz also shows us how easy it is to judge everyone we see and label them apikorus or believer. In reality the whole point of spending time here as earthlings is to work on our own Emunah and leave the judgment to The Ultimate Judge.

    #1331483

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    mw13,

    Given the fact that you think that disease outbreak is ultimately caused by people who don’t vaccinate, and don’t attribute it entirely to Hashem, does that make you an apikores?

    #1331544

    yekke2
    Participant

    Yekke, I doubt the exactness of your story (but then I often doubt the exactness of stories).

    But do you doubt the point?

    #1334681

    gavriel613
    Participant

    “Are You an Apikores?”

    No, not an apikores. No matter the answer to any of the 3 questions, apikorsus isn’t relevant. Not having bitochon in Hashem doesn’t imply lack of belief in Hashem, or any of the 13 Ikkrim. Don’t mean to nitpick but this isn’t an area where confusion is OK.

    You should have titled it “Do you have strong Bitochon?”

    #1334941

    mw13
    Participant

    Jospeh and golfer:
    The point of this thread is not for me to decide who is or is not a true believer, or any such finger-pointing and name-calling (although I am aware that this is a common side effect of CR threads). The point was for all of to take a long, hard look in the mirror and figure out to what extent we acknowledge that Hashem runs every aspect of our lives, and to what extent we labor under the false pretense that כחי ועצם ידי is what got us where we are. And as Avraham in MD pointed out, I’m far from perfect in this regard myself (as is true in most other regards) .

    Yes, I could have called this thread “Do you have strong Bitochon” or something similar, but then how many comments do you think there would be here? Controversy is what keeps people interested.

    #1334954

    Joseph
    Participant

    “but then how many comments do you think there would be here? Controversy is what keeps people interested.”

    You’re telling me?

    #1334951

    mw13
    Participant

    Avi K:
    Suppose Hashem decided that if Reuven will write a decent resume, dress presentably and speak well at the interviews he will get a certain job. If Reuven does not fulfill any of those conditions who “ultimately” lost the job for him?

    I think it is important to stress that although we must do our proper hishtadlus (putting aside the almost impossible question of precisely how much hishtadlus is necessary), it is not the hishtadlus itself that gets us the seemingly resultant health/wealth/security/etc; it is nothing but a gift from Hashem.

    Moshol, li’mah ha’davar domeh – if I tell my five year old that if he behaves I’ll give him ice cream, while he must keep to his end of the deal to get the ice cream, the ice cream is still a gift from me. His good behavior will not magically make the ice cream appear, and our hishtadlus does not actually create the success that we receive – it is nothing but a gift.

    The appearance of a cause-and-effect relationship between our hishtadlus and our success is nothing but an illusion. We just go through the motions, but it is Hashem Who decides what we actually get.

    I’ve seen it quoted from the Chazon Ish that what we view as teva is nothing but רצון ה’ היותר תמידי – how Hashem happens to usually run his world. It is not a “rule” that the sun must rise every day or that objects must always fall to the ground anymore than it is a “rule” that I get up at 7:30 every day – both are nothing other than a routine, and can be changed on a whim.

    (The impetus for this thread was actually an excellent piece that R’ Dessler has on this subject, which I am trying to relocate so I can quote it here. Any leads would be appreciated)

    #1334959

    🎩RebYidd23
    Participant

    In other words, clickbait.

    #1334982

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Yekke2 , +1.

    I heard a very similar story told about Rav Moshe Shternbuch and his friend when they were bochurim (although I also can’t verify the accuracy of the details, but I also don’t think it matters).

    I don’t remember who the Rosh Yeshiva was. It wasn’t a precise amount of money, but the point was that didn’t raise much money and came back discouraged.

    The Rosh Yeshiva called them in and congratulated them on raising so much money for the Yeshiva. They were like, “What do you mean? We hardly raised anything!”. He said, “While you were gone (or right after you came back), donated a lot of money. It was because of your hishtadlus.

    As the Mesilas Yesharim says: hishtadlus is “muchrach” (required) but not “moil” (causes). The hishtadlus is not the cause. Only Hashem is the cause. As we say in Ani Maamin, “v’hu levado asa oseh v’yaaseh…”

    We do hishtadlus only because Hashem let us know that He wants us to. If we don’t the hishtadlus that we are supposed to do (according to our personal levels and situations), then He may choose not to help us. (of course even if we do hishtadlus, He may also choose not to help us).

    But it is not the hishtadlus, but only Hashem who makes things happen (even though our lack of hishtadlus may be a reason why He may decide not to help us. For that reason, too much hishtadlus could also be a reason why He may decide not to help us. Lack of bitachon or lack of davenings can be other reasons as well).

    #1334989

    bitultorah24-7
    Participant

    To MW13,

    Please look at the Ramban by Avraham in Vayera, “Ki Yidativ” who writes that (paraphrasing, look at original) the majority of the Jewish people are not under direct din and hashgacha pratis, unless you deserve it.

    Likewise the Tehuvas haRambam on whether someone can harm someone else without a din (if I remember correctly, last one in chalek aleph in the 1980 edition), who explains that in a makom sakanah even without a din a man can become killed.

    Likewise the Rambam in Pesachim (Peirush hamishnayos) on the braiysah of “3 things Chezakiah did” how important it is to go to doctors (There is a tana dimisaya, R’ Yehoshua in Bamidbar Rabbah).

    many others, but I am working write now.

    #1334994

    gavriel613
    Participant

    “Yes, I could have called this thread “Do you have strong Bitochon” or something similar, but then how many comments do you think there would be here? Controversy is what keeps people interested.”

    As long as you aren’t worried about fuelling misconceptions in a vital area of Yiddishkeit! This thread strongly implies that a lack of bitochon makes you an apikoros, which is a very dangerous thing to tell people!

    I understand you want to get lots of comments, but may I suggest a re-assessment of priorities

    #1335318

    mw13
    Participant

    gavriel613, I don’t think things are quite as clear-cut as you are attempting to portray them as being. If somebody ch”v believes that Hashem *cannot* give somebody health/wealth/etc unless they do theirs, and Hashem is just “helping” them be successful, they are indeed an apiokores. Ditto if somebody believes that their hishtadlus is what is creating their success, and Hashem is just a part of the process, not the be-all and end-all. The technical term for this belief system is shituf- I believe Hashem plays a part in my ultimate success, but not the only part. If I’m not mistaken, R’ Dessler goes through this as well.

    A great example of this – my brother once had a substitute teacher that claimed that Hashem needed our help to stop global warming. Is that not apikorsus?

    Now BH, I don’t think too many people here in the CR or in any frum circles believe in this kind of thing. But we may live our lives in accordance to this ideal to a greater or lesser degree – and at a certain extreme degree, it does indeed become possible apikorsus.

    #1335341

    gavriel613
    Participant

    mw13 – I agree your first example is apikorsus, because it states that Hashem’s koach is limited, as though Hashem were incapable of giving parnoso without my help ch”v.

    But I don’t agree with your “Ditto”, it isn’t a ditto at all, I would have thought its completely different. If someone believes Hashem COULD do it, but thinks that in the system Hashem chose to set up their hatzlocho does come from their hishtadlus, to the best of my knowledge this is not apikorsus, but is a lack of bitochon.

    Your brothers teacher also, if he meant that Hashem CAN’T stop global warming then he is an apikores as well as stupid (nebach and an apikores, to misquote). But if he said that Hashem wants us to try to look after the world, and set up the world in such a way that problems can develop if we are poisheia, then this isn’t apikorsus. (For all I know this may be right, Chazal say (albeit about something different) “תן דעתך שלא תקלקל ותחריב את עולמי”, there is a potential for קלקל which is in the hands of people, it is possible that it is the same here, you would presumably agree that one shouldn’t pour petrol into the ocean etc as it damages the world. But lets not hijack this thread).

    The term shituf as far as I am aware generally refers to belief in two ultimate koichos. It is conceivable that R’ Dessler or other Baalei Mussar borrow this loshon to describe bitochon in two sources, even though it really means emuna in two sources i.e. accepting them as a god. Thinking that you play a part in your success obviously doesn’t mean you accept yourself as a god.

    It is true that people would have stronger bitochon if they had perfect emuna. However with every aveiro one could argue that if the persons emuna was stronger they wouldn’t have done it, that doesn’t mean they’re an apikorus. As long as they know intellectually and believe in these ideas, not having fully emotionally internalised them is a chisoron, not apikorsus.

    [I have often wondered what the source of bitochon is. What parts are mideorayso, what parts perhaps miderabonon or minhag, which parts a good middoh. As most of the seforim which discuss bitochon are mussar seforim it can be hard to tell. I don’t think the Rambam brings a chiyuv of bitochon in Maddo or in Sefer Hamitzvos as one of the mitzvos min haTorah, indeed this may be part of the Ramban’s point in shikchas haseyin no. 8 “Tomim tihyeh”. However even the Ramban doesn’t include in that mitzva everything which is normally included in the term bitochon. Which is what leads me to wonder whether some parts of bitochon are a middo.]

    #1335379

    chabadgal
    Participant

    actually, nowadays there are no apikorsim, because no one is learned enough to know everything and then deny hashem and go against it

    #1335369

    R4nd0m3x
    Participant

    I think the piece by Rav Dessler might be in the second part of the first volume of Michtav Me’Eliyahu.

    #1335437

    mw13
    Participant

    Finally had time to sit down and find this piece from R’ Dessler It’s in Chelek Aleph, page 180 (although its definitely possible that says this idea somewhere else as well). This is an excerpt from much larger piece that I cannot do justice to, so if you want to see it in context, you’re all gonna have to go crack open a Michtav Eliyahu yourselves.

    He begins the shtickel by making is famous and piercing observation that the only reason we think of techiyas ha’maisim as being miraculous, while we regard plants growing from dead seeds as mundane, is because we happen to be accustomed to seeing the latter and not the former. If it was common for the dead to rise from their graves, but uncommon for wheat to grow from the ground, we would regard techiyas ha’maisim as being natural and consider plants growing from seeds to be a miracle. He goes on to say (page 178): אבל באמת הוא, כי אין בין נס והטבע כלום: הכל נס הוא. כל העולם כולו אין לו שום סבה רצונו ית’

    And now, for our feature presentation (page 180-181):

    יש אשר יקראו לעצמם מאמנים בוטחים בה’ ית’, ןמ”מ יראו בכל מהלך העולם דרך טבעי, מסבות ומסובבים מעתדלים לנהל את הסבות אל אשר יחפצו. ויסמכו על הבנתם ושכלם לכשוב בחשבון הסבות איך תסתבבנה זו מזו, ובכחם וכשרון מעשיהם יאמרו להסב הסבות שתביאנה מסובבים כרצונום. ומ”מ יחד עם זה יבקשו מאת ה’ שיצליח את מעשיהם: היינו כי אף אם מעשיהם עושים בחשבון נכון ובטוח, מ”מ הרי אינם בטוחים מסבות מן הצד אשר תוכלנה להתערב באמצע, כמו חולי וכדומה, או אשר משד אכר סבות אחרות אשר לא ידעו מראש, תבאה צרות ורעות והזיקות וכדו’: וכן מודים שיש להודות להשי”ת שנתו בהם הכח לחשוב ולהבין בסבות ולעשות מעשים להסבם לחפצם: אבל בעצם הענין, הנה דכתם כי העולם מתנהג בדרל הטבע, וע”כ הם בעצמם ביבודתם ושכלם ישיגו את אשר יצטרך להם וכו’. וכך הם מפרשם “בזאת אפיך תאכל לחם”.

    בעלי המדרגה השאת, באמת הם מבעלי השיתוף – כי משתפים את עצמם עם הבורא ב”ה בהנהגת העולם: ואחר כל אשר ידברנו מדברי האמונה והבטחון, עדיין הכפירה משורשת בלבבם, כי בעומק לבותם יחשבו: כחי ועוצם ישי כשה לי את החיל הזה.

    #1335507

    Avi K
    Participant

    Gavriel, “shituf” means associating another being with Hashem. For example, the Notzrim (other than Unitarians and similar denominations) think that Yushki was a manifestation of Hashem (thus they refer to him as their Lord, capitalizing the “L”). In general, their theologians contend that there is only one Gd but that He has three different parts.

    #1337070

    gavriel613
    Participant

    mw13, looked up the Michtov meEliyohu. When R’ Dessler calls this shituf and kfira I’m fairly sure this is a borrowed loshon and lav davka, as I said before. This is common in the more recent mussar seforim, he doesn’t mean a psak halocho that he is doing proper shituf which is avoda zoro, see below.

    Avi K, see Chinuch 417 who uses the actual word shituf:
    תיז. מצות אחדות השם.
    שנצטוינו להאמין כי השם יתברך הוא הפועל כל המציאות, אדון הכל, אחד בלי שום שתוף, שנאמר שמע ישראל ד אלקינו ד אחד
    The christians are just one example of shituf, and that is the main reason people talk about shituf as its relevant nowadays, but it isn’t the definition of shituf. The definition is believing there are other gods apart from Hashem (as opposed to saying there is only a different god and not Hashem). Whether you believe that god is somehow part of Hashem, or works together with Hashem, or is Hashems enemy or something, that is called shituf, because you don’t believe ד אחד.

    Ramban on the possuk of shema brings from Chazal:
    רבי נתן אומר מכאן תשובה למינים שהם אומרים שתי רשויות הן שכשעמד הקב”ה על הר סיני ואמר אנכי ד’ אלהיך מי מיחה כנגדו
    Hence this is coming to forbid us to believe there could be another god who would want to make a macho’oh against Hashem and say I’m also a god. Both Avi K’s and mw13’s explanations of shituf would make this medrash hard to understand.

    But I haven’t learnt meseches avodo zoroh yet so I may well be wrong.

    #1337152

    Logician
    Participant

    “I have often wondered what the source of bitochon is”

    R’ Meir Simcha argues it is the mitzva of Dveikus…fascinating piece…

    The Maharal says several times that if you don’t believe in Teva – that Hashem created predetermined rules for how the world runs – you are a מחרף ומגדף… (This is how he interprets the problem of האומר הלל הגדול בכל יום).
    In no way does this contradict the basic idea R’ Dessler and others are conveying…

    #1337351

    gavriel613
    Participant

    Logician – 1) Thank you
    2) Where is the meshech chochmo
    3) Without having seen it inside, arguing it comes from Dveykus actually supports my thesis that part of bitochon is a midda, not a chiyuv deoraysa. Because Dveykus also isn’t brought as one of the taryag mitzvos by the Rambam (from memory he explains the mitzvo of ubo sidbok as misdabeik betalmidei chachomim eg doing business for them, marrying daughter to one).
    4) Why is the Maharal not a stira to R’ Dessler

    #1337357

    gavriel613
    Participant

    Logician – have found the Meshech Chochma (Dvorim 10:20 – this weeks parsha!). From his opening few sentences it is clear that he is offering a pshat he agrees is not like the Rambam and Ramban, I looked through the whole piece quickly and he doesn’t seem to try to reconcile his pshat with them. So, whats the source of bitochon according to the Rishonim

    #1337685

    Logician
    Participant

    1.
    “So, whats the source of bitochon according to the Rishonim?”

    I don’t know. And neither did R’ Meir Simchah!! It’s a strong point. I’ve posed his question to Talmidei Chachamim, and they admit they never thought about it. Nach is full of such Pesukim – but not in the Torah.

    2.
    Teva exists (as much as anything ‘exists’ – different topic). That’s the Maharal. Hashem created the world? Well, He created Teva as a system to run it. NOT that it has its own power, NOT that anything happens at any moment without Him – His Ratzon is Mekayem everything at every moment – but He did set up a system. It’s one of His messengers, like the malachim.
    R’ Dessler, like many others, talks how “there is no Teva”. Perhaps there “are no malachim”‘? He’s just stressing that there is no stand alone entity called Teva, and no decision is made just because of the system. Hashem decides constantly if you should work according to Teva or there should be some other intervention (neis nigla, neis nistar). That’s what he means “it’s Him every moment”.
    Same for the idea “Teva is a Neis”. It just means that everything is miraculous in the sense that Hashem could have set things up in any way he wanted, and there’s really nothing more astonishing about vinegar burning than oil. But is there a difference practically? absolutely! Extreme example: Do someone react the same if they catch a cold or are diagnosed with cancer? But to Hashem it’s all the same, there’s no Teva??? Yes – but He’s telling us 2 different things. Meaning – we understand that the fact that something is more or less dangerous according to TEVA makes a a huge practical difference according to the Torah!

    3.
    Your observation about Bitachon is absolutely true. See the Rmbn at the end of Ki Seitzei, about going to war – If you don’t have Bitachion, you just go home, the connection’s just not there, you can’t treat it like every other obligation!

    #1338089

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Are You an Apikores?

    Yes. Next?

    The Wolf

    #1338995

    mw13
    Participant

    gavriel613:
    mw13, looked up the Michtov meEliyohu. When R’ Dessler calls this shituf and kfira I’m fairly sure this is a borrowed loshon and lav davka, as I said before.

    What makes you think that? I think R’ Dessler meant what he said and said what he meant. If somebody believes that the ultimat reason they are healthy/wealthy/wise is due to their own prowess, they are directly contradicting those words of the Chinuch: השם יתברך הוא הפועל כל המציאות, אדון הכל

    Ramban on the possuk of shema brings from Chazal:
    רבי נתן אומר מכאן תשובה למינים שהם אומרים שתי רשויות הן שכשעמד הקב”ה על הר סיני ואמר אנכי ד’ אלהיך מי מיחה כנגדו
    Hence this is coming to forbid us to believe there could be another god who would want to make a macho’oh against Hashem and say I’m also a god. Both Avi K’s and mw13’s explanations of shituf would make this medrash hard to understand.

    How so? I am not suggesting that what I posted above is the only, or even the classic, case of shituf. There can be more than one way of applying an incorrect idea.

    But I must say that I am enjoying the sheer novelty of somebody addressing Avi K & I together, as colleagues in agreement. With enough faith, anything truly is possible 😉

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