Today’s daf yomi, Bava Metzia 106 continues with landlord-tenant or sharecropper situations. The mishna discusses whether a sharecropper is released from his obligation to provide a certain minimum of produce or cash to the landlord if there is a crop devastation, plague or some epic natural disaster which cuts down or wipes out the crop. The situation elucidated in the Talmud (a la Artscroll) is interesting. The sharecropper tells the landlord he will plant something and fails to plant anything, or tells him the owner he will plant a certain crop and then attempts to plant another crop. Subsequent, the epic plague, devastation or blast of destruction come in. Does the sharecropper have he have to pay? The devastation would have obliterated whatever he did. The devastation would destroyed a great effort or a compliant sharecropper. What could he have done?
The owner has interesting claim. My mazel is better than yours. If you would have followed the plan, there would not be the devastation. How strange! My mazel is better than your mazel. It is reminiscent of the school yard fights that my brother (or today my sister) is stronger than yours. My mazel is stronger than your mazel.
The beautiful thing about this argument is that the landlord is not saying, I am smarter than you, I am more successful than you. I am better qualified than you. The landlord attribute their success to mazel. In the estimation of the Shikkerdovid, this is more humble. As Jews, we recognize that our world view is Gd centric. All good (and bad) comes from Gd. We recognize that we are not fully arbiters of our destiny.