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Does G-d Help Those Who Help Themselves?

Studying Rashi: Parshat Shoftim

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Does G-d Help Those Who Help Themselves?: Studying Rashi: Parshat Shoftim

The Torah says (Deut. 18:13) "Be wholehearted with your G-d" in contrast to those who seek fortune tellers and other ways of knowing the future. Rashi explains that G-d doesn't want us to probe the future, but to simply accept whatever comes. But aren't we supposed to be proactive? Doesn't G-d expect us to do our part as well? How is this to be understood?
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Rachel via January 3, 2014

Does G-D help those who help themselves? Thank you Rabbi. Reply

Anonymous Arizona, USA February 18, 2013

Doe G-d Helps Those Who Help Themselves I believe that G-d helps us to help ourselves. He gave us Torah so that we could learn His ways so that all would be well for us. Torah is the daily manual for self help. I have heard this expression over and over in my own family that "G-d helps those who help themselves". I do not know where this notion came from. He gaves us all the possibilities, and freedom of choice in this world because he is not a tyrant. But the choice that we make on our own, without Torah, will be our responsibility. He, blessed be He, knows better what is out there that would bring us down to the pit from which we will never be able to get out unless we seek His help. Without him how can we help ourselves when G-d is the only reality? Thank you Rabbi Kaplan for your answer to my inquiry. Great teaching!!! Reply

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan Thornhill, Ontario February 18, 2013

Response to Anonymous! "Targum" freely translated means "Translation", but usually contains (brief) commentary and invariably is more than just "translation." The most prominent Targum of the Chumash is the one written by Onkeles (a righteous convert who was probably originally named Achilles, he was a nephew of the Roman leader Titus). Another is Rebbe Yonatan ben Uziel (senior disciple of the great Hillel), and there is another referred to as Targum Yerushalmi (e.g. the Jerusalem rendition).

Malki Tzedek was (as articulated by our Sages in numerous Midrashim etc) Shem the son of Noach. We don't know / have an enormous amount of info about him, other than that he was righteous, would bring offerings to G-d and headed an academy that taught Monotheistic spirituality. He was also the King of what later became Jerusalem. Clearly, he is not one of our great heroes presumably because his influence was extremely limited in comparison with Abraham who effected a global change...

Much success in your continued study of Torah! Reply

Anonymous Arizona, USA February 2, 2013

Dear Rabbi Kaplan, wonderful teaching. I have a couple of questions. 1) What is the Targum? 2) Where can I find further information on Shem, Salem, and the King of Salem? I understand that the King met Abraham Avinu, and had bread and wine with him? I know that part of this information is in Torah, but what I mean is the full information on the history after the flood. The teachings of the Noahide Law. Is this in the Talmud, and which Talmu? I am constantly studying, I need to know more about our religion. Thank you kindly for your efforts in teaching us. You are a great teacher. All in all your message today is to trust in Hashem, blessed be He, be faithful to him because He is faithful. And, pray, pray, and pray for all the world. I was looking for teaching of the word of G-d, like always and this is a message I needed. Although we are in another chapter of Torah this week. Thank you Chabad for doing such a great job in teaching the nations. Reply

sarah August 31, 2012

Very good very understanding Reply

Vince NY, NY August 23, 2012

Off Topic Hi
I think you might change the topic of this lecture to "How to follow Torah" rather than a discussion about the future and how to accept circumstances. I found it very light on the description and was looking for more guidance in the area of the future. Reply

Kathie Philadelphia, PA August 23, 2012

G-d helps those who help themselves I always had a problem with this!We are supposed to let G-d guide us in all we do but is this not contradictory with "helping ourself"? Reply

David Haifa, israel August 22, 2012

G-d helps those who help others. Reply

Richard Boca Raton, FL/USA August 21, 2012

Who Needs Who? God may need us, for who or what else is on earth with a mind capable of being grteful and giving thanks when we receive the blessings that are showered onto us every day of our lives? But that doesn't give any of us the right to bring a laundry list to God. Remember this: Heaven helps those who help themselves.

RMM Reply

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