Suppose you do something “stupid” that you later regret. It makes you very discontent you could have made such a foolish error, as at the time you just weren’t thinking clearly and you should have and could have chosen differently. Was it Hashem that limited you in the moment?

  • 1
    Is there any reason to think there is a general rule here?
    – Double AA
    Feb 23, 2020 at 16:53
  • 1
    – Joel K
    Feb 23, 2020 at 16:56
  • אין אדם עובר עבירה אא”כ נכנס בו רוח שטות
    – Alex
    Feb 23, 2020 at 17:09
  • @alex this isn’t talking about an aveirah, but just something foolish that was done
    – Fei23
    Feb 23, 2020 at 17:21
  • 1
    @Shmuel as a learning experience.
    – simyou
    Feb 23, 2020 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


See Iyov 12:17-21:

מוֹלִ֣יךְ יוֹעֲצִ֣ים שׁוֹלָ֑ל וְֽשֹׁפְטִ֥ים יְהוֹלֵֽל׃

He makes counselors go about naked And causes judges to go mad.

מוּסַ֣ר מְלָכִ֣ים פִּתֵּ֑חַ וַיֶּאְסֹ֥ר אֵ֝ז֗וֹר בְּמָתְנֵיהֶֽם׃

He undoes the belts of kings, And fastens loincloths on them.

מוֹלִ֣יךְ כֹּהֲנִ֣ים שׁוֹלָ֑ל וְאֵֽתָנִ֣ים יְסַלֵּֽף׃

He makes priests go about naked, And leads temple-servants astray.

מֵסִ֣יר שָׂ֭פָה לְנֶאֱמָנִ֑ים וְטַ֖עַם זְקֵנִ֣ים יִקָּֽח׃

He deprives trusty men of speech, And takes away the reason of elders.

שׁוֹפֵ֣ךְ בּ֭וּז עַל־נְדִיבִ֑ים וּמְזִ֖יחַ אֲפִיקִ֣ים רִפָּֽה׃

He pours disgrace upon great men, And loosens the belt of the mighty.

The reason Hashem may do this is either to reach some desired outcome, or so that the one who acted stupidly can learn to be more consciously aware of their actions.

See also the story of Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai and Vespasian, in Gittin 56b:

אמר ליה אילו חבית של דבש ודרקון כרוך עליה לא היו שוברין את החבית בשביל דרקון אישתיק קרי עליה רב יוסף ואיתימא רבי עקיבא (ישעיהו מד, כה) משיב חכמים אחור ודעתם יסכל איבעי ליה למימר ליה שקלינן צבתא ושקלינן ליה לדרקון וקטלינן ליה וחביתא שבקינן לה

Understanding that Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai was prepared to ask him not to destroy the Temple, Vespasian said to him: If there is a barrel of honey and a snake [derakon] is wrapped around it, wouldn’t they break the barrel in order to kill the snake? In similar fashion, I am forced to destroy the city of Jerusalem in order to kill the zealots barricaded within it. Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai was silent and did not answer. In light of this, Rav Yosef later read the following verse about him, and some say that it was Rabbi Akiva who applied the verse to Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai: “I am the Lord…Who turns wise men backward and makes their knowledge foolish” (Isaiah 44:25)

  • With perhaps one exception the sources given here seem to be referring to people in leadership positions. Are there any sourced this is true about ordinary people in their everyday life?
    – Schmerel
    Feb 24, 2020 at 16:14

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