Can the Rav please clarify whether people have a set amount of years they are decreed to live, decreed when they are born, or does a persons amount of years ‘fluctuate’ based on their merits/observance?
Are both true? I would appreciate some sources about this. Thank you!
Although I am far from a mekubal, and topics that involve how shomayim works are largely hidden from us, nevertheless I can relate some ideas to you. It would seem that both are sometimes true, obviously depending on Hashem’s plan. Hashem has a plan for each individual person, in addition to a master plan for the whole world, and sometimes Hashem’s reasons will cause Him to act one way and sometimes the other way. For example, Adam Horishon gave 70 years of his life to Dovid Hamelaech, therefore in a way Dovid was not allotted any more than this and doing good acts wouldn’t have helped. On the other hand, we see that torah learning and acts of kindness can elongate a person’s life. We see this regarding Rabba and Abaya, who were supposed to die earlier, but lived longer because of their actions. ON the other hand, a person can unfortunately cause himself to die prematurely, such as a person who gets kares. The biggest proof to this is Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, which are days of judgement, on how long we will live, and they are based on our actions. Additionally, in Nesaneh Tokef we say, “who at his time and who not at his time”, meaning who will die at the allotted time that he was given and who will go at a different time. So we see that both are true
All in all, there are two ideas that are important for us to live by on a daily basis. The first is the posuk in Isiah 55-9. “Ki govhu shomayim m’aretz, cain givhu d’rochai m’darceichem, umachshivosay m’machshivosechem” “The same way the heavens are above the earth, so too are My ways from your ways, and My thoughts from yours”. We cannot phantom the depth of Hashem’s wisdom, reason’s and calculations, because Hashem is so far above us. The same way a cat, or a dog has a limited intellect, because it wasn’t given more brain power than what Hashem created it with, so too, human wisdom is only in so far as Hashem has given us brain power and allowed us to understand. To give a quick example of heavenly wisdom, all of science has not yet reached the depth of the planning of a single cell, and as science and medicine get more advanced, they discover move and more depth to a simple cell of our bodies. Chemical reaction, that go on inside a single cell, reproduction, aspiration, etc. are all including in this microscopic being. In addition, each microscopic cell contains DNA that has a tremendous information in it, which science has not yet totally understood. Not do forget that there are thousands of different types of cells just in one human body. Nerve, muscle, brain, blood, soft tissue, ligament, taste, sight, smell, immunology cells, absorption cells, purifying cells, cells that help us reproduce, cells with different elasticity and different strengths, to list a few. After learning enough about the world, a person can come to the understanding that the world was made by a higher intellect that is way above us. (We could never duplicate something so complex). If He knew what He was doing when He made the world, He knows what He is doing when He runs the world.
Secondly we have to remember the verse “Tomim t’hiye im Hashem Elokeicha” Walk in simplicity before Hashem you G-d”. We are to live our life, trusting that Hashem, knows best. We have to do the best we can regarding fulfilling the mitzvos, and doing Hashem’s will, but after that, as Greyhound says, “Leave the driving to us”. We leave the driving and running the world up to Hashem.
Hashem should give everyone arichus yamim, so we can fulfill His mitzvos
Zohar 2- pg. 232-(1), Tosefos (on Chumash) Brieshis 5-5, Yevamos 105a, Rosh Hashana 16b.