The Ramban (Parshas Bechukosai) quotes a machlokes Tanaim regarding whether the bracha of “v’hishbati chaya ra’ah min ha’aretz” means wild animals will disappear completely (R’ Yehudah’s opinion) or that wild animals will become domesticated (R’ Shimon). Just an aside, my wife noted that expending so much money to save wild endangered species seems a waste according to R’ Yehudah, as these animals will become extinct anyway. Be that as it may…
A few weeks ago we visited this machlokes in the context of eichus vs. kamus. The Rogatchover explains that R’ Yehudah holds “v’hishbati” means a quantitative elimination, l’shitaso of his understanding of the mitzvah of “tashbisu” as demanding that chameitz be burned. R’ Shimon interprets “v’hishbati” as including even a qualitative change. Nafka minah: if chameitz is bateil in a ta’aroves, does that fulfill the mitzvah of tashbisu? The same quantity of chameitz exists, but the mixture does not have the qualitative halachic nature of chameitz.
The Meshech Chochma connects this machlokes to a different debate. The gemara (Brachos 35) has a machlokes how to interpret the contradictory pesukim of “v’asafta deganecha” and “lo yamush”. R’ Yishmael’s approach is to compromise – plant in the planting season, plow in the plowing season, harvest in the harvest season, the rest of the time devote to learning. R’ Shimon bar Yochai’s approach is either/or – if the Jewish people serve G-d properly, then they will be blessed with the ability to learn all day and their work will be done by others; if the Jewish people are lax in observance, then they will be forced to spend time toiling in the field.
Hashgacha pratis works to the degree we trust in Hashem and are aware of His presence. R’ Shimon (stam R’ Shimon in the Mishna is Rashb”i) l’shitaso holds that for some (at least), it is possible to attain the goal of complete and constant immersion in Torah, meriting in turn constant and complete protection of hashgacha pratis. Wild animals need not be eliminated, as hashgacha affords protection from harm -- these animals are no different than domesticated animals. R’ Yehudah, however, like R’ Yishmael, holds that complete dedication to Torah is impossible. Man must break from his learning to plant, plow, and engage in the normal mundane activities of life. If wild animals remained, they would pose a danger during these periods of mundane activity when there is no protection of hashgacha. Therefore, the only way to guarantee bracha is to eliminate them.