Fundamentals of the Jewish Faith
Chapter Six: Divine Providence (Part 2)
It only makes sense that a person would pay rapt attention to someone he’d
given a lot of responsibility to, and take little notice of somebody he’d
entrusted with very little.
Indeed, when all is said and done, we care more for people we heap
responsibility upon than for others we’ve left on the side-lines. And it’s
likewise true that we especially care for people who assume a lot of
responsibility on their own and that we have little regard for the less
Well, the same is true on a Divine level, if one could say as much. For
while “G-d is constantly interacting with (all) His creations” as we’d
said, still and all the type and extent of contact varies. As He interacts
in a distinctive way with us humans because we’re “unique, in that (we’re)
rewarded and punished for (our) deeds”. That’s to say, He relates to and
draws closer to us because He’d granted us so much responsibility, and
because we play such a central role in the makeup of all things.
Indeed, G-d only interacts marginally with other entities, like inanimate
objects, animals, and angels; and so He only “keeps a particular species
of thing (functioning) within the boundaries and limitations He set for
it”, as Ramchal terms it, and no more.
To use an example, while G-d doesn’t pay close attention to each and every
chemical element, He does assure that element’s existence and sustenance,
even though particular instances of it may disappear or become inert. And
so while calcium, for example, is maintained as long as it’s needed, not
every bit of calcium is. And that’s because no one bit of it bears a lot
of responsibility, so each is dispensable and only acts as a functionary.
It follows then that G-d draws close to each one of us -- by suffusing us
with His Presence and surrounding us with His light -- by degrees. For, as
we said, our relationship with Him is reciprocal. So the more I do to
draw close to Him, the warmer His presence and the brighter His light,
while the more I do to avoid Him, the cooler His presence and the dimmer
And so while humankind as a whole is watched over and provided for each
and every moment since it matters so in the course of things, you and I
specifically are reacted to differently moment by moment. It also follows
that G-d most especially draws close to the righteous since they assume a
lot of responsibility, and He draws them especially close to Him.
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has translated and commented upon "The Gates of Repentance", "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason
Aronson Publishers). His works are available in bookstores and in various
locations on the Web.