On the pasuk "Tamim tihye im Hashem Elokecha" (Devarim 18:13), Rashi says :

Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity and depend on Him, and do not inquire of the future; rather, accept whatever happens to you with [unadulterated] simplicity and then, you will be with Him and to His portion

What is the sentiment that Rashi is trying to convey here? Is it that tamim tihye means we should act with simplicity - i.e. we should have simple faith in Hashem and not try to guess the future, but rather simply accept whatever happens as part of His plan?

But if so, then we also shouldn't be looking into the future at all - including using science (which is all about calculating future events) or natural law. But that's just hishtadlus and we do it all the time, and in fact, are obligated to perform.

I understand that maybe this is talking only inquiring of the future from astrologers/diviners. But, again, if the thrust of tamim tihye is the generic notion of simple acceptance of whatever comes, and of not trying to be clever and calculating, then it should have a much broader scope than just astrology.

  • Why not ask in that passage itself: you can’t predict the future using Ov etc., so I give you prophets and the Urim v’Tumim.
    – DonielF
    Sep 4, 2019 at 21:45
  • "Eizeh hu chakham? Haro'eh as hanolad." Forecasting is complemented. The quote has to be about using non-causal means. Astrology was sometimes considered science -- the Ibn Ezra was an astrologer. I don't know about Rashi's mileau. But superstitions like reading palms or tea leaves... Sep 6, 2019 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


Heard from רב פדר...

A person by nature is insecure about the future. It is scary. Who knows what will happen? He gets worried. He has great fears. So what does he do? He often seeks out a certain method to get a sneak peak at the future. He seeks out a fortune teller or the stars to tell the future. But the point is that those concerns about the future can cause him to cave in on his principles and turn away from God and turn to these avodah zarahs. So what is the solution? How does a person avoid that? תָּמִ֣ים תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה. That you must in a certain sense accept God’s world. The world is created according to the will of God. Have an expectance that it will work out according to God’s will. You don’t know the particulars, but you have to learn to accept that you are living in God’s world. Don’t let your desire for the future to cause you to comprise your perfect attachment to God. A religious person might live in line with God, but then these fears drive him away. Temimus means that the degree of attachment to God must be complete. You must stick with God through thick and thin. When you are successful and when you are fearful. The Torah is helping realize difference circumstances that cause a person to crumble. True Temimus is to be with God in all circumstances and not to tap out when the going gets tough. You need to use your intellect to make plans for the future possibilities. However, there is a certain degree that is outside your control and awareness. You just need to wait till you find out. There is no shortcut through idolatrous means. Temimus is in all circumstances you are operating in line with God’s system.


Rashi means exactly as he says:do not inquire of the future. Science and natural law do not tell us of the future, they are extrapolations of the present, and that's allowed.

  • Welcome to MiYodeya nosh and thanks for this first answer. Can I recommend you take the tour to get a sense of how the site works? And since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Sep 7, 2019 at 17:06
  • @nosh Ok, say science is the prediction of the future by extrapolating from the present state, based on rules we call natural laws. I can say astrology (or divination, etc.) is the same. One looks at the present state (of the stars, cards, etc.) and based on some rules [i.e. some 'natural law'] extrapolates what the future is going to be. What's the dividing line here?
    – user9806
    Sep 9, 2019 at 16:48
  • @user9806 I think the dividing line is between nature as we know it and "higher nature", meaning forces in creation which Hashem has forbidden us to control.
    – nosh
    Sep 10, 2019 at 13:09
  • @nosh Even if that is so, Rashi's wording is "do not inquire of the future" - and the intent seems to be to just accept whatever comes. So that would include science - perhaps if we're busy extrapolating the future by calculations using laws of nature we're not simply accepting whatever comes - perhaps we're not being tomim.
    – user9806
    Sep 10, 2019 at 19:39
  • @user9806 I would question your assumption that Rashi means "just accept whatever comes", perhaps rather: "and do not inquire of the future;" i.e. that future which cannot be extrapolated from the present of 'lower nature', "rather, accept whatever happens to you with [unadulterated] simplicity" and do not seek to change the course of the future through the manipulation of higher nature.
    – nosh
    Sep 11, 2019 at 13:12

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