Shoftim/Ki Teitzei
Shoftim/Ki Teitzei

Shoftim/Ki Teitzei

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Living with God

By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim

Be tamim (wholehearted) with the Lord, your God.” (Deuteronomy 18:13)

The Torah instructs us to be tamim (wholehearted) with God, but what exactly is this verse instructing us to do? There are explicit commands to love, fear, and serve God so being tamim (wholehearted) with God must indicate something different.

Rashi quoting the Sifri explains “Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity and depend on Him, and do not inquire of the future; rather, accept whatever happens to you with simplicity and then, you will be with Him and to His portion.” In line with this explanation the Code of Jewish Law states that it is forbidden to consult with astrologers, sorcerers and the like regarding the future. (Shulchan Aruch YD: 179:1)

There is a natural human need for security and control. The future is uncertain and somewhat out of our control leaving us with worry and fear. We would like to know the future in order to prepare ourselves for future events and gain some control. To alleviate our discomfort with an uncertain future we approach astrologers and fortunetellers.

The Torah forbids us to alleviate our anxiety regarding the future by consulting fortune tellers and astrologers. Rather we are to relieve our fear and worry by placing our trust completely in God with the firm knowledge that everything that will occur in the future emanates from Him and is for our ultimate good. Additionally, the Ramban explains that we are to know and believe that the future is not static. Our deeds and behavior affect the future and God can and does change things at will. We are not to be fatalistic but rather to live with God and pray for our futures and the future of others.

Furthermore, our sages teach us that when we put our reliance and faith in God almighty we are elevated above the fatalistic world of nature into the world of the miraculous where all is possible. Our charge is to rely on and trust in God and therefore literally have Him at our side and therefore be confident in the knowledge that all our life experiences and occurrences are ultimately engineered by God for our good!