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"The Way of G-d"

Part 2: "Divine Providence"
Chapter 7: "The Influence of the Stars"

Paragraph 4

Never forget, though, that the planets and stars aren't independent entities with powers of their own, as some mistakenly assume. Indeed, the Jewish understanding of their role in the grand scheme of things is very different from others'.

Others believe that the planets and stars hold sway over our lives and are a force not to be denied. As we've been indicating, we believe that G-d uses their electric and majestic push and pull to affect us, but not to determine our "fate" in any sense of the word. For the constellations indeed are beholden to rules G-d has them follow and they're limited in what they can do.

So let's try to illustrate the actual role the constellations play in our lives by means of an analogy.

Imagine, if you will, that we were seeds in the soil of a boundless field rather than indiviuals in vast space. Look upon the planets and stars in that context as relatively large pebbles and clumps of soil in close-enough proximity to us to affect the way life-giving water and minerals reach us, and thus our quality of life. See them and us in that context and you come closer to the idea of the place of the constellations in the big picture. It's not that they have power over us and rule the heavens -- G-d forbid! It's just that in their relative proximity to us they affect our experience of G-d's life-giving radiant splendor to a very great degree.

Some individuals can determine approximately how much the constellations affect us by "reading" them. But those individuals can indeed be far off, since our knowledge of the forces behind the planets and stars is limited. Also because the planets' and stars' influences are often overridden by G-d's will, as we've indicated.

This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel, and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.

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