A Natural God by Rabbi Jonathan Krimsky


Leilui Nishmat Shayndal Rachal bat Chaya Hena

Throughout our lives, we constantly reiterate how Hashem took us out of Egypt.  Whether it is in the last paragraph of Shema, Kiddush every Friday night, or in the Tefillin we don every day, we are always emphasizing the great miracles Hashem performed when He took us out of Egypt.  Why do we have to mention this miracle so often?  Isn’t it enough to commemorate the event once a year during Pesach?  The Ramban, in this week’s Parsha, establishes a profound Yesod that is so important to each of us in our daily lives.  When we think about Yetziat Mitzrayim, we think about the great overt miracles that mesmerized each and every Jew.  Whether it was the shock and awe of Makkat Bechorot or the triumph of Kriat Yam Suf, it was clear to all of our ancestors that Hashem was behind the scenes, running the show.  Yet, as time wares on, the effect of the miracle subsides.  How are we to experience the awesome wonders of God so many years later?  The Ramban writes (13:16, at the end):

From the great miracles, a person comes to admit to the hidden miracles that are the foundation to the entire Torah.  For no one has a portion in the Torah of Moshe until they believe all of our words and our events are miracles, and there is no such thing as nature. 

The reason we need to constantly remind ourselves of Yetziat Mitzrayim is to instill within us that everything that happens in the world is a product of the benevolence of Hashem.  After we read Shema, say Kiddush, don Tefillin, we remind ourselves that God performed these great miracles in Egypt.  Yet, the Ramban is telling us that the buck cannot stop here.  We must take the Emunah to the next level.  Once we have grasped that Hashem performed wondrous miracles in Egypt, we need to grasp that Hashem continues to perform miracles on a daily basis.  The fact that we consider the open miracles to be greater is only because we are not accustomed to them.  Yet, no one form of miracle is inherently greater than another.  Once we understand this point we will appreciate God’s world much more.

Using this Ramban, we can understand an opinion in Masechet Megilah.  The Gemara (6b) has a discussion about what to do if there are two months of Adar: should we celebrate Purim in the first Adar or in the second Adar?  Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel holds that we should commemorate Purim during the second Adar.  Rebbe writes that the reason for this is to be “Somech Geulah Ligeulah,” to juxtapose one redemption to the other.  Why, you may ask, is it important to link Nisan and Adar – what is the connection?  Perhaps the Ramban can shed light on this Gemara.  While Pesach is the ultimate manifestation of a Nes Nigleh, Purim is the prime example of a Nes Nistar.  Our job is to not only connect the two miracles on the calendar, but to connect them thematically.  Just like Pesach was a great miracle as we saw the awesome hand of Hashem, so too, Purim was a great miracle since we were able to see the awesome hand of Hashem behind the scene. 

     Let us hope and pray that we will be Zocheh to take this lesson to heart and recognize the greatness of God even in “nature”.

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