It is an article of faith that Hashem directs our lives individually (hashgacha pratit), and part of that guidance includes instructions about what each person should or shouldn't be doing. If we had access to a prophet we could simply ask them what are Hashem's personalised directions, but in the absence of a prophet we have to decode and interpret these messages as we notice them in daily life.

What sources from the Talmud or elsewhere in Jewish tradition help an individual understand and correctly interpret these messages from Above? I am looking for universally applicable assertions such as this kind of event is an indication of this kind of judgement of your actions (ie. no stories about how Hashem sends you messages).

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    Where is such an article of faith identified? – Double AA Oct 8 '13 at 19:17
  • B'rachos 5a: אמר רבא ואיתימא רב חסדא אם רואה אדם שיסורין באין עליו יפשפש במעשיו שנא' נחפשה דרכינו ונחקורה ונשובה עד ה' פשפש ולא מצא יתלה בבטול תורה שנאמר אשרי הגבר אשר תיסרנו יה ומתורתך תלמדנו ואם תלה ולא מצא בידוע שיסורין של אהבה הם שנאמר כי את אשר יאהב ה' יוכיח. – Fred Oct 9 '13 at 3:04

Vilna Gaon on Yona 4:3

And how could one know what he corrupted before (in his previous gilgul)? There is on this 2 signs. One - that (sin) which he stumbles many times in this gilgul. On this they said "let him examine his ways", which ones does he stumble. Two - which sin does his soul desire greatly, because it was used to it previously and became second nature. Therefore there are some men who desire one sin more, and others who desire a different sin. And on this they said "examine his ways" - that he should also fix his ways.

  • According to this, is anyone not a Gilgul? – Double AA Oct 8 '13 at 19:18
  • read somewhere that vast majority are yes gilgulim. could be shaar gilgulim of R.Chaim vital zt'l – ray Jan 13 '14 at 7:48

Here is some advice on the topic from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov:

You should reflect on the different situations and occurrences that God sends your way day by day. Each day has its own thoughts, words and deeds. They are all completely unique to that day. God "contracts" His infinite, endless Godliness in such a way that Godliness is present even in the innermost point of the finite material world in which man finds himself. Thus God sends to each individual the thoughts, words and deeds appropriate for the day, the person and the place. Within them are hints intended to draw the person closer to God's service.

This is why you should pay attention to what happens to you and consider what it may signify. Think about the thoughts, words and deeds that God sends you each day in order to understand His hints to you to draw closer to Him at every moment. This applies to everyone, no matter who and in what circumstances .

But be cautious when thinking about these things: you must stay within certain limits and not delve to excess, because otherwise it is possible to stray beyond the bounds of holiness. Flying off into speculation can be dangerous. Stay within the limits of human understanding and steadily expand your horizons without trying to step beyond your level, because "you may not investigate that which is too wondrous for you" (Chagigah 13a) .

Likutey Moharan I, 54

  • I don't see how this answers the question, which asked specifically for "universally applicable assertions such as this kind of event is an indication of this kind of judgement of your actions". – Double AA Oct 8 '13 at 19:20
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    This is a kind of meta-answer on how to identify the messages yourself. I think it is applicable to the question. – Michael Sandler Oct 8 '13 at 19:37

In Arachin 16b the Talmud discusses the reason for the affliction of Tzaraas on a person. One of the answers is

מה נשתנה מצורע שאמרה תורה בדד ישב מחוץ למחנה מושבו הוא הבדיל בין איש לאשתו בין איש לרעהו לפיכך אמרה תורה בדד ישב וגו

Wherein is the leper different that the Torah said: He shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his dwelling be? He separated a husband from his wife, a man from his neighbour, therefore said the Torah: ‘He shall dwell alone’.

While in today's times we do not see Tzaraas as discussed in the Torah, in my opinion the principle remains applicable - that divinely imposed social separation may be a punishment for Lashon Hara / slander.

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    But it may also be a punishment for any of the other things which can cause tzaraat (which everyone seems to forget about...) which means this doesn't really answer your question as it could symbolize any of a number of things. – Double AA Oct 8 '13 at 19:19

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