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 Who Learns From Who? Q & A

What Kind of Belief?

Avromi took a deep breath as he and Yankie passed by the matzah bakery on the way to school. "Aahh!" exclaimed Avromi, "I can't wait to eat that crispy, delicious matzah at the seder."

There's a lot more to matzah than its crunchy taste.

Our sages call it the bread of belief and tell us that in the merit of the Jewish people's belief in HaShem, they were redeemed from Egypt.

What is so special about the Jewish people's belief in HaShem? After all, many people all over the world throughout the generations have believed in HaShem. Yet our belief is different.

What makes many people believe?

A person looks around and sees a world made up of billions of details, all existing according to many sets of rules.

"This could not have come to be all be itself," he thinks. "There must be a Creator who makes it all happen. I wonder how big, strong, wonderful and powerful this Creator is," he asks himself. "He must be bigger and more powerful than nature itself," he decides.

But our belief is different.

We do not look at the world and decide that there must be a Creator. We know that HaShem has always been there, even before the world ever existed. It's not nature that teaches us to believe in HaShem; we know that He is way above nature, and we rely on Him and trust Him at all times.

For example, if we would ask a farmer who is planting seeds in the ground: Why are you doing that? You are taking a perfectly good kernel which can be eaten as food for animals or people and you are burying it beneath the ground!

The farmer would smile and explain: "This is the way nature works. When seeds are put in the ground, we can count on them to grow."

Yet the Talmud tells us that a Jew puts his trust in HaShem and plants his field. A Jew doesn't rely on nature alone. He relies on HaShem. He plants his seeds and believes that HaShem will make them grow.

And what might that farmer think when the rules of nature suddenly change and supernatural things happen? He may then begin to believe in a Creator who is greater than nature. But he may also try to explain that the supernatural things that happen are not really so supernatural; they may be just nature doing something unexpected. Afterall, it is hard for a person who is used to following nature to stop and start thinking about something higher than nature.

This is what happened when the great miracle of Kerias Yam Suf (Splitting of the Sea of Reeds) took place.

Not only the Sea of Reeds, but all the bodies of water in the world also split. When the nations saw this, they asked what was happening and they were told about Kerias Yam Suf. They were amazed and became fearful of the Jewish people.

But soon some people had different ideas. "Wait a minute," they said. "We heard that all over the world, waters split. Then this is not a sign of some great Creator doing supernatural things for His chosen people. It's just a strange natural event taking place."

A Jew will not make this mistake. He believes that HaShem is way above nature. HaShem made the rules of nature and He changes them as He sees fit.

A Jew's trust in HaShem is the same for both the natural and supernatural things. Everything - the natural and supernatural - all comes from HaShem.

 Who Learns From Who? Q & A

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