Counting With Miracles
By the Grace of G-d
11th of Nissan, 5733
To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere -
G-d bless you All!
Greeting and Blessing:
Pursuant to the previous letter, and in order to further clarify the point which was brought out in it:
That the true Jewish concept of Divine Providence is - as indicated in the plain sense of the term - that it is continuously active, every day and in every detail, and that supernatural (miraculous) Divine Providence is not limited to revealed miracles, but that also in the ordinary daily life there is miraculous intervention, except that "the one to whom a miracle occurs does not recognize his miracle."
It will be well to add some pertinent points, and to bring out the practical message of the whole thought, in addition to the explanation of the above-mentioned basic Jewish tenet, relating it to actual conduct, since the essential thing is the deed.
Supernatural (miraculous) direction can take two forms:
- Revealed miracles, such as the miracles which accompanied the Liberation from Egypt, this is to say, miracles which are entirely above and beyond the natural order, and at complete variance with nature;
- Miracles on the order of the Miracle of Purim, which was "clothed" in natural "garments."
The miracles of the Exodus from Egypt - beginning with those that took place in Egypt, right up to and including the liberation of an entire people, "young and old, sons and daughters," after centuries of enslavement in a land, from which even a single slave could not escape; an Exodus, moreover, with "upraised arm" (in broad daylight and with honor) and "with great substance" - these were events which everyone clearly saw as revealed miracles.
Different was the Miracle of Purim, for although also in this case there were miracles, to the extent of a complete "reversal" of circumstances, culminating in extraordinary triumph, as expressed in the words, "For the Jews there was light, joy, gladness and honor," nevertheless, the miracle of Purim was "clothed" in natural developments: Esther becomes queen; Mordechai gains a place "at the gate of the palace" and saves the king from an assassination plot; Esther intercedes with the king to annul the decree, etc., as all these events are related in the Megillah; although every event individually, and especially the congruence of all the events, "in those days at this season," into a predesigned pattern, was obviously miraculous, as we acknowledge this many times in prayer on Purim, referring to the "miracles, deliverance, mighty deeds, salvations, wonders."
Divine direction within the natural order, likewise, takes two forms:
- Direction that "outwardly" is entirely natural;
- direction in which Divine Providence is clearly in evidence.
An example of the former, is the course of sowing and reaping: To plant, and later to harvest, is entirely natural, so much so that in order to discern Divine Providence also in this natural order, one must ponder deeply about the way in which this Providence, extending to every detail, causes the congruence of a variety of natural phenomena - such as winds, rains and sunshine, etc, each in the right time and the right measure - to produce the desired results.
The second, an easily discernible form of Divine Providence, is what people commonly call "success," "good luck" (Mazel), "windfall," and the like. These terms do not say what the thing is, but rather what it is not, namely, not personal achievement, i.e. not the result of special intelligence or hard work.
However, the Torah called Toras Emes, tells us the real truth, that such Mazel is the gift of Divine Providence, the Divine blessing in the three general areas of human needs, namely, "children, life and sustenance," real and extraordinary Nachas (joy) from children, exceptional good health, and extraordinary Hatzlocho (success) in Parnoso.
This, then, is the point that was emphasized in the previous letter, to be learned from the distinction of the month of Nissan as "This month shall be unto you the first of the months."
By ordaining the Jewish people to count all the months of the year from Nissan, the month whose significance is contained in the fact that "in it you came out of Egypt" through the intervention of revealed Divine miracles, the Torah teaches us that such is the essence of the Divine conduct of the universe throughout all the months of the year, whether it expresses itself in revealed miracles, or in miracles which are dressed in "natural" garments; or when Divine Providence is in evidence, or it is totally obscured by the natural order - in each all these forms it behooves the Jew to know and remember that G-d is the Creator of the world and the sole and exclusive Master of the world, and that He directs the whole world in all its details; certainly the "small world" (microcosm), i.e. man, everyone, and in all details of his and her daily life.
In light of the above, it is self-evident, that every detail of a person's life, however "small" it may be, is subject to Divine directive, and it must be carried out in accordance with that directive, i.e. the will of the One Whose Providence extends also to that particular detail. Nothing can override it, or change it, for the "counting" has its roots in the month of Nissan, whose essence is the revealed miracles of Yetzias Mitzraim.