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Living Practically with Emunah

Security and persdonal safety.

Question: Moshe Rabeinu, Yehoshua Bin Nun, King Saul, King David…our Patriarchs and so on were leaders, prophets and warriors. It is not a lack of emmunah and betachon for a Jewish man to legally own firearms, practice self defense, take First Aid and C.P.R. courses and to teach basic street survival to his family.

Dealing with the holy orthodox people I am always amazed at how close minded some great persons are when it comes to personal responsibility for their safety. They quote: “If someone comes to kill you (has v’shalom) you kill them first.” Guard your health and so on. It is empty talk–they do not have the skills to do it.

Of course Ribono Shel Olam decides the life of every individual … but living in the Holy Land (Gog and Magog prophesy) Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the economic situation in the world…should we only pray and trust in Hashem,or must we take practical steps to aquire skills to protect our own lives, our family, our community?

Your opinion based on the Jewish law is of great importance. With respect to all of you. Thank you.


The Gemara provides the answer to the question you ask. The central passage is the following extract (Niddah 70b):

“What must a man do that he may become wise? He replied: Let him engage much in study and a little in business. Did not many, they said, do so and it was of no avail to them? — Rather, let them pray for mercy from Him to whom is the wisdom, for it is said, For Hashem gives wisdom, out of His mouth comes knowledge and discernment […]  What then does he teach us? That one without the other does not suffice.

What must a man do that he may become rich? He replied: Let him engage much in business and deal honestly. Did not many, they said to him, do so but it was of no avail to them? — Rather, let him pray for mercy from Him to whom are the riches, for it is said, Mine is the silver, and Mine the gold. What then does he teach us? — That one without the other does not suffice.” [The Gemara also mentions a third example.]

The principle for all matters of this world is that “One without the other does not suffice.” We must on the one hand make the necessary hishtadlut, meaning the required worldly effort to earn an income, to gain wisdom, and so on. At the same time, we must acknowledge that all things are from Hashem, and pray to Him that we should indeed succeed in acquiring them.

Speaking of looking after one’s health without knowing which foods are healthy and which are damaging, which practices are important and which should be avoided — and so on — is of course of no avail. The Gemara urges us in no uncertain terms to be aware of our physical, earthly environment, and to navigate it properly, together with our reliance on Hashem and constant awareness of His direction. The same applies for First Aid courses, and so on.

Best wishes and much success.


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