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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Hashem sees through Fog

Daf Yomi Sotah 13

After a long and arduous journey, Avram and Sarai find themselves in the Promised Land.  G-d has been good to them along the way; by the time they arrive in Canaan, they have a strong following and substantial material assets.  But then, just as they are beginning to settle into the new country, a drought spell hits and famine breaks out. 

Imagine what was going through the holy minds of our patriarch and matriarch.  Any other couple would have said to one another, ‘We can’t believe that G-d has brought us all the way here for naught!  We must have overrated Him.  Clearly, He’s not in control of nature.’  But that wasn’t Avram and Sarai’s reaction.  They humbly told themselves that G-d had blessed them until that point; no doubt He would continue to bless them and guide them.  Meanwhile, they would have to seek sustenance in Egypt, but it must be nothing more than a test of faith.  And indeed, they passed with flying colours.

Following the splitting of the Red Sea, the Torah says, “And Miriam the prophetess, sister of Aharon, took the drum in her hand [and gathered the women to sing].”
The Gemara asks: Why is she called the sister of Aharon, and not the sister of Moshe?
Rav Amram (and some say, Rav Nachman) quoted Rav: The Torah is teaching us that she was already prophesying when she was still only the sister of Aharon (before Moshe was born).  She was saying, ‘My mother is destined to give birth to a child who will save Israel.’ 
When Moshe was born, the entire house was filled with light.  Her father, Amram, stood up and kissed her on the head, saying, ‘My daughter, your prophesy was fulfilled.’
But when he was taken and placed in the river, he stood up and tapped her on the head, saying, ‘My daughter, where is your prophesy now?’

What happened to Amram’s faith in the prophecy?  One moment he’s believing that the prophecy of salvation has come to pass, and then the next moment he’s suddenly lost his faith.  One small apparent hiccup and he gives up hope!  Had he held on just a little bit longer he would have seen the miracle of Bithia, Pharaoh’s daughter, requesting that Moshe be nursed by his very own mother, Yocheved!  And then Moshe raised in the king’s palace in training for his leadership of our people! 

When it comes to maintaining a relationship with G-d, some people have very short memories.  They’ll pray for Heaven’s mercy for their health or their parnassah (livelihood) or issues with children, and Hashem will answer their prayers.  But then something will go awry in their lives and they will immediately begin to question Hashem’s Providence.

‘How could G-d do this to me?’ they ask, ‘How could G-d be in control if this has happened in my life?’  But they forget that only moments earlier, the Almighty had showered His blessing upon them.  This one hiccup is not a sign of G-d’s lack of control; it’s all part of His grand plan.  We simply need patience because we don’t see the grand picture the way He sees it.  If Amram and Yocheved had continued hiding Moshe under their secret trap door, he would never have been able to become the leader of our people!  It was precisely when things seemed bleakest – when he was sent as a baby floating down the Nile River – that he set sail on his journey to greatness!

Next time things don’t go the way you thought they would, stop for a moment.  Think about all the things in your life that have incredibly, perhaps even miraculously, worked out in your favour – against all odds.  The Almighty loves you more than you could ever imagine.  He hasn’t failed you until now, why would you think that he has suddenly lost control of the situation?

He is absolutely in control.  He knows exactly what He is doing.  What appears to you to be a failure of prophecy or providence is merely your nearsightedness.  The Almighty’s plan is perfect.  May you maintain your faith in Heaven through both the clear and the foggy days!