What Will Tomorrow Bring?
By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim
In Parshat Shoftim the Torah forbids us to consult and involve ourselves with astrologers, soothsayers, enchanters, sorcerers and charmers. The purpose of all these practices is to obtain useful information concerning inevitable future events. From time immemorial people have consulted these fortune-tellers. Curiosity, superstitious belief, and desperation for some future glimmer of hope, have been among the chief motivators. It is well known that Maimonides considered many of these practices to be irrational nonsense, without any scientific or spiritual basis whatsoever. Others differed with Maimonides and felt that many of these practices have elements of truth, but nonetheless the Torah prohibits such practices.
The Torah concludes these prohibitions with these words “You shall be ‘complete’ (Tamim) with Hashem your God.” Rashi explains “Walk with Him with completeness, and place your hopes and expectations in Him, and don’t investigate the future, rather whatever He brings upon you accept with completeness…” All the above practices have one subtle moral flaw. They remove God from the consciousness of mankind. One begins to place one’s trust and hopes in a world, where luck, superstition and fatalistic mysterious forces determine one’s future. No longer is God seen as “the sole director of our fate and guide for our deeds (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch).” No longer is God seen as “He alone who decides our future (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch).” The Torah demands that the way of the Jews is to place their hopes, dreams and future in the hands of God alone and to accept whatever He brings upon them.
Even among our own there is a tendency to put one’s faith and trust in Kabbalistic Rabbis who perform spiritual manipulations and predict future events. There is nothing wrong with getting advice or a blessing from a righteous person. There is, however, danger in forgetting that ultimately our futures are in the hands of God and not some mystic.
The Hebrew word ‘Tamim’ carries both the meanings of completeness and simplicity. Let us take the simple path of following God’s laws of morality, ethics, kindness and service and put our hopes, dreams and aspirations in the one living God.