Chapter 2: Mishna 4
He (Rabban Gamliel) would say: Do His [G-d's] will as
you do your own will, in order that He should do your
will as if it was His. Rescind your will in the face of
His will, so that He will nullify the will of others in
the face of your will.
What is the connection between this lesson and the previous
lessons taught to us by Rabban Gamliel?
It appears that it is teaching us that involvement with the
community is itself the will of G-d. (Discussing our fulfillment of
the will of G-d, after discussing issues related to the tzibbur,
teaches us this lesson.) All matters relating to the needs of the
tzibbur are in fact what G-d wants.
This can be shown from the Gemara in Brachot (8a) which teaches
about the verse (Tehillim 69:14) "And for me, my prayer to You should
be in an acceptable time (at a time of acceptance)." When is it a time
of acceptance? When the tzibbur is praying.
We see that G-d has a desire for the tzibbur, and what He wants is
to fulfill the needs of the tzibbur for which they are praying.
Therefore we are taught "Do G-d's will", referring to involving
ourselves with the needs of the tzibbur, which is His will.
This concept of tzibbur is very deep. A complete tzibbur is
immune from prosecution, for they embody the power of the "klal," an
all-encompassing and unified reality. Sin exists only in individuals.
The sin cannot exist within the "klal" as a unified whole, and they
cannot be attacked. (See Netzach Yisrael, chapters 2 and 4 for further
insights on this topic.) The only prosecution comes through the
individuals who have sinned. (Even if it is a majority of the
individuals, the judgment is against them as individuals.) Prayer of
the tzibbur in a synagogue (as opposed to individuals praying by
themselves) embodies the power of the tzibbur, and it is therefore a
time of acceptance before G-d.
The underlying principle here is that the tzibbur is attached to
the will of G-d.
(I have not repeated what we wrote in Mishna 2, parts 4 and 5,
which are relevant here to help understand what the Maharal has
written. It is as relevant here as it was there.)
Man has the ability to create a situation where all that he wants
is realized. In this state, he would not be missing anything that he
wants. This can simplified into two general provisions that include
all that man truly needs. First is that all of a person's true needs
(all things that he lacks) are supplied to him. Second, even when he
has been supplied with all these needs, he also must be protected
against evil befalling him. What good would it be if he or what he had
was vulnerable to destruction or deprivation! (Take a very wealthy or
famous person, even when he views his wealth or fame as a vehicle for
accomplishment rather than simply to bolster his ego. If that person
will, ch'v, be afflicted with a terminal illness, family tragedy, etc.,
he quickly discovers that all the things he has attained have lost both
their importance as well as their effectiveness.) On the other hand,
even if a person was protected from bad things happening to him, yet he
had true needs that were not met, he would still be in a state of
incompleteness. (To simplify this even more, the Maharal's point is
that a person needs be the beneficiary of the positive, and he must be
protected from the negative.)
Love of G-d leads a person to fulfill His will, and from this he
will receive from G-d all of his needs. Awe (fear) of G-d (which
prevents a person from doing something which contradicts the Divine
will) protects the person from having the will of someone else be
fulfilled against his own will.
(We have discussed in other places the principle that love brings
a person to do what the other person wants done. Fear prevents a
person from doing something against anothers will.
(The way the Maharal has interpreted the Mishna should not be
understood as a simple quid pro quo: You do for G-d and G-d will pay
you back in kind. It is much more fundamental as will now be
explained. A correct understanding of what the Maharal now teaches
will obviate many questions about people who seem to be following the
will of G-d yet not receiving all that they appear to need.)
A person who truly loves the Almighty pursues fulfillment of His
will with all of his heart, for it is the will of G-d that we "love him
with all [our] heart." Thus, the person pursues his own will, which
emanates from a love of G-d, as he does the will of G-d, which is that
the person love Him. An identity is created between our will and the
will of G-d, leading G-d to fulfill our will as if it is His, since our
will has become identical with His.
While the first side was motivated by love, the other side is
motivated by awe and fear. "Rescind your will in the face of His will"
teaches that when a person lusts to commit a sin, but abandons that
drive due to the will of the Almighty, Who does not want that act done,
the person's will has become identical with the will of G-d. G-d will
then not let the will of another be done against this person's will.
(Beyond the seeming semantic manipulation of these lessons, there
lies a secret of our relationship with G-d. True love is rooted in the
desire to give. If our existence in this world is built on a desire to
give to and serve G-d, then every resource we receive is used, in some
way, to that end. Our every want is connected with the motivation to
serve Him, and as such, our will, which is to serve Him, becomes
identical with the Divine will, which is that we serve Him. There is
no independent will of the human ego, as man's will is built
exclusively on serving his Creator out of pure altruism. G-d provides
us with what we want, for that is truly what He wants, as we use it
exclusively for the purpose it was given to us, motivated by the desire
to serve Him. At a deep level, we can't always know what resources we
best need to serve Him, and therefore we accept what G-d gives us with
joy, knowing that it is with the resources we are given that we can
best perform our personally unique service of G-d. An old adage that
can be used to summarize this lesson is: To have all that you want,
just want whatever you have. The difficulty may come when our service
must be built on confronting difficult situations, whether they are
physical, financial or emotional. These could be our challenges in
this world, and rising to them is the highest form of service.)
In summary, through complete love of G-d and fear of Him, man can
be assured that his situation will be at its optimum, where all his
needs will be provided for, and he will be protected against forces
that undermine his ability to accomplish his goals. It requires much
profound thinking to completely grasp the deep concept of the
connection between the will of man and the will of G-d, as man succeeds
in making his will identical with the will of G-d. No more can be
expounded. (We have written before how phrases of this sort in the
Maharal indicate truths that are part of the hidden dimensions of
The class is taught by Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky,
Dean of Darche Noam Institutions, Yeshivat
Darche Noam/Shapell's and Midreshet Rachel for Women.