We left you last week with an understanding of a Medrash Tanchuma that states that Yaakov Avinu wanted to reveal to his children when the “end of days” would arrive. It means he wanted to reveal the purposes, the processes, the meanings, and the goals of the tortuous nisyonos that Klal Yisrael would undergo. And thus, fortified with emunah empowered by that knowledge, their avodas HaShem would still be with the utmost mesirus nefesh, and yet have the added element of being b’simchah and full of love for HaShem.
So we asked, “So tell me, what did HaShem hold?” Why hold back that knowledge?(And one can easily relate this issue to this week’s sedrah, in which Bnei Yisrael experience centuries of exile and hard labor in Egypt, prompting Moshe Rabbeinu to anticipate that Bnei Yisrael would not believe him when he came to redeem them! Moshe claimed they would refuse to believe that redemption was possible, certainly not imminent! And when Pharaoh gave seemingly inexplicably difficult new decrees (no straw for bricks — let them go gather their own straw!), and Bnei Yisrael verbally attacked Moshe and Aharon, Moshe himself cried out in pain, saying, “L-rd, why do You mistreat Your people? Why did you send me? From when I came to Pharaoh, talking in Your Name, he has made things worse for Your people!” This is Moshe Rabbeinu talking! And no matter how it is explained, the fact remains that a Moshe Rabbeinu, without foreknowledge of the rationales of the agonies and persecutions of galus, looks at them differently than a Moshe Rabbeinu with that knowledge. And so, why?) Why does HaShem insist, so to speak, that we remain ignorant about how and why the process takes the form that it takes? Look back at the story the Medrash brings (ahhh, you can’t, you threw it out already… well, I hope you’ve learned your lesson…) Yes, the servant was loyal to the king and wanted his children to serve the king with love, alacrity, and enthusiasm, with the knowledge that the king has already prepared the documents which would render them free men!
Yet the king was of an entirely different mindset. He wanted their service of him to be davka without knowledge of impending freedom; for above all the king wanted a demonstration of their loyalty, trustworthiness, and faith! True, knowledge of their documents of freedom would cause them to serve the King with full love and utter joy — but it has a built-in shortcoming and disadvantage: it lacks the built-in bond of allegiance that servants of the king exhibit when they serve him oblivious of any looming emancipation.
That, then, is the meaning of HaShem saying, “You care about your children more than about Me.” Our remaining loyalty to HaShem throughout the centuries, through all situations, through the darkness of galus, bespeaks of a deeper, immeasurably more solid and unwavering submission to the King. For the be-all and end-all of the Jew is, as we have been demonstrating these last few weeks, our emunah in G-d. And thus it is precisely in that area, of emunah, in which HaShem wishes us to grow, advance, and develop!”And the tzaddik lives by his faith,” says the navi. And that is the main nisayon of the galus — not the pressures to conform, to give in and go along; it is rather the crises of emunah, of faith, of our asking ourselves: Where is HaShem?! What does HaShem want from me? How can this be good for me? What does HaShem expect me to do, how does He expect me to react, can He really be orchestrating these painful events, seemingly at odds with everything I know about Him?
Yes, Bnei Yisrael’s avodah might have a certain quality were they to know and understand and appreciate what HaShem is doing — not tothem, but forthem. Yet from HaShem’s perspective, so to speak, the kiddush HaShem emerging from the emunah-exhibition stemming from the lack of knowledge is more in line with the entire purpose of the world’s very creation — emunah baShem!
When the shevatim sensed the dynamics, understanding that the knowledge of the end of days was ebbing away from Yaakov Avinu, they cried out, “Shema Yisrael, HaShem Elokeinu HaShem Echad!” HaShem — representing the midas harachamim, and Elokim, the midas hadin — HaShem Echad, He is One, there is but one purpose, one goal emanating from the story of existence — knowledge and emunah of HaShem’s reality.
Our trials and struggles and torments are an operation that we must undergo; we beg and pay for the operation, for we believe that it will render us whole, though we may not understand the hows or the whys. We believe, as the Gemara in Pesachim famously states, “In olam haba, there is only one brachah on all types of events — ‘good’ and ‘bad’ — hatov vemaytiv; HaShem is good and does good.” In the future we shall see it, and finally understand it, while at this point in time, in our galus, we “only” believe it.”
The tzaddik, though, possibly sees it, visualizes it, and internalizes, it even in this world. His belief is so strong that he is experiencing the good within the seeming bad even in the here and now. But he cannot explain it, cannot teach it to others whose emunah does not take them that far, who see destruction and carnage and “only” believe it to be bringing geulah. Yaakov Avinu was experiencing it in the present — for ultimately, HaShem is indeed only good.
It is thus a Yaakov Avinu who can sincerely state, “Baruch shem k’vod malchuso l’olam va’ed.” For Yaakov sees the kavod shamayim now. But alas, he must whisper it, for he cannot teach it, he cannot proclaim it. He teaches belief in that reality, which is why we say the brachah of “dayan emes” b’simchah. But dayan emes it is. In the future, says the Gemara in Pesachim, there will only be one bracha — hatov v’hamaytiv. He is good, it’s all good, we will all be living in that reality.
This coming Monday night, BTYA is proud to bring to the entire English-speaking community of RBS , men and women, HaRav Moshe Vaye, shlita, who will be speaking in English, presenting and explaining the need to carefully check many of our foods for insect infestation. Rav Moshe will be explaining (why now more than in the past), demonstrating the how-to, and answering your questions! 8:15 pm, downstairs at BTYA, 10-shekel suggested donation.