“And G-d spoke to Moshe and said to him. I am the Lord, and I appeared to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya’akov, by the name of G-d Almighty (El Shaddai) – I was not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the Land… and I have remembered my covenant… and I will deliver you, will redeem you and I will take you to me for a people and I will be to you a G-d… And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Avraham to Yitzchak and to Ya’akov, and I will give it to you for a heritage- I am the Lord.”
The book of Bereishit focuses on the creation of the world and the segulah of the Avot (Patriarchs and Matriarchs) as select individuals who were able to perceive G-d in the limited and contracted systems of “nature”. They were not stuck in this realm but asked questions about, above and beyond nature. It began with Avraham who stood “on the other side” of the norms of the world perspective and was able to recognize G-dliness even in the restricted realms of social, cultural, political and religious behaviors that resulted from the tunnel vision of their time. He was the first to reveal G-d. These abilities were transferred from father to son, father to son – and 70 souls go down to Egypt, all of them containing this knowledge of G-d. Where does it take them?
The book of Shemot focuses on the creation of spirituality. This eventually led to the giving/receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, the building of a “home” for G-d in the Mishkan, and finally actualizing the heavenly plans for actualizing the Torah laws and ideals in the Bnei Yisrael setting up a home in the Promised Land.
First though, they had to go through a purification process of difficult years in bondage and suffering in Egypt. The events in these parshas of the Book of Shemot, especially consolidated into Vaera 6:2 lead us up the steps of the process of the revelation of the manifestation of G-d in the world. The impact the exodus had on the world and its afterglow proclaimed G-d as the Lord, “Ani Hashem”, infusing the world with the knowledge of G-d. This was done when Israel was transformed into a nation, one inseparable unit, one indestructible unit that no amount of humbling and breaking could undo. As this nation took form, G-d became “Ani Hashem.” Suddenly, all the walls supporting the laws of nature began to fall down. This began with the plagues which did not affect the Bnei Yisrael. At first they “harkened not to Moshe for anguish of spirit and cruel bondage”. But, one thing led to another and they went from saying to G-d, “you lookin’ at me…?” to “can I be the apple of your eye?” Through the obvious miracles that G-d performed, the Divine Presence not only became revealed to G-d’s chosen, but the whole world kinda sat back and stared.
The heavenly objectives were all finally achieved. We commemorate them and celebrate them with the three festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot: 1) Pesach- Signifying the first stage of the redemptive process – freedom from bondage, recovery and finally Israel becoming a holy entity- “And I took you to Me for a people.” The light of G-d is revealed through them to the entire world. 2) Shavuot- The marriage between G-d and Knesset Yisrael – Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. 3) Sukkot- Building a house for G-d. (This is also the time when all the nations of the world come up to the Temple Mount with offerings)
These were all revealed miracles but the pinnacle of all miracles was the Nation of Israel being born, defying all the laws of nature.
And now, put on some background music, Whitney Houston and “There can be Miracles” as I tell you a little story told by one of the greatest Kabbalists in Israel today, Harav Chaim Hacohen, HaChalban, shlitah. It goes like this- Once upon a time there was a guy who rode a bike carrying two bags of sand every single day for years and years past the customs authorities while he passed from one country to another. Since it was sand, they couldn’t tax him so he rode through untroubled every day. One day, one of the officers said he thought it would be a good idea to take one bag of sand and check it. Who knows, maybe there was monkey business going on… Maybe he really was evading taxes and there was something else in the bag besides sand. They took it to a laboratory, checked it, and sure enough- it was sand! He rode by freely every day and this continued for many many years. One day, the customs officer retired. As he was enjoying himself at a cafי, who comes in but the sand peddler! “Hey”, he said. “I am not working at customs anymore. Mind telling me what the deal with the sand is? Are you a mishigina?”(are you crazy or something?) “Oh”, the peddler answered, “That. Well, it’s not the sand I’m doing. It’s the bikes.”
Sometimes there are such revealed things that we don’t even see them. We don’t think about them. We are looking in pockets, in secret places, for deep dark secrets while the obvious that happens to us every day, years on end – we just don’t see!!!!!!!
Israel, as it progresses and deals with the real world, as it BUILDS, has NEW BABIES, develops to heights only one can dream about, after it’s history of being cast out, suppressed, dispersed, burnt at the stake, banished, cremated and almost decimated – like no other people in the world- has returned to her Land.
Israel has a special soul.
It surpasses anything of “natural order” and can only be defined as a miracle. No power in the world, even Pharoh, will prevent the open miracles from occurring as it is written in the prophets. As much as it seems that Hashem’s light is concealed, it is up to you to “see the miracles if you believe”. (thank you Whitney Houston)
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith