(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 23:02:22 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Proactivity In Fighting Our Yetzer Horah

QUESTION:Does halachah support proactivity? Consider the following examples
<  <  Examples - Noah building the ark, Jacob seeking blessings, Joseph
preparing for 7 years of famine, Esther preparing herself for a pivotal
future role, and various prophetic warnings.>  >

I do NOT disagree that being proactive can sometimes be important. But to
answer Mrs Abrams questions about whether Judaism supports proactivity I
think it is EQUALLY important to emphasize those times when one SHOULD NOT
be proactive. Several examples come to mind:

The most famous example is 2Sam5:22-24---King David had heard about
Philistines attacking and he wanted to be proactive and asked permission of
G-d. G-d responded "Do not go; rather hide in the trees; ...when you hear
the footstep-type noises in the trees, then go fight because G-d is with
you". In other words King David had to develop the quality of HIDING
besides the quality of FIGHTING.   Another place that lack of proactivity
is emphasized is in 'earning a livelihood'---eg Ps 37:23 or Prv
20:24--"From G-d the footsteps of man are made firm; but man? How can he
understand the proper way?" Another famous example is Adam and Eve in Gan
eden. According to the Talmud, Sanhedrin, they were allowed to eat from the
tree but had to wait one hour during which they had to abstain (The same
idea as in the family purity laws)

Bottom line, I think the correct answer is that "Judaism supports
proactivity provided the person recognizes G-d as provider and provided he
only does reasonable proactive activity but not excessive".

Russell Hendel; Phd ASA; Math Towson;
Moderator Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/