Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Av 5761 - August 8, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
With a Discerning Eye

by L. Jungerman

"And you shall say in your heart: my might and the power of my hand has wrought for me this wealth, but you will remember Hashem your G-d for He is the One Who gives you the power to make this wealth" (Devorim 8:17).

HaGaon Hatzaddik R' Avrohom Eliyahu Meises zt'l says that this warning relates to our view of ourselves and of the world around us. For in every thing that exists -- aside from the exterior which is visible to the eye, there is also an innate, intrinsic dimension which can only be discerned by an examining eye. The Torah commands and warns us to look at every thing and every event with an accompanying contemplative gaze.

The nations of the world worshiped the stars and constellations. What caused them to err? The fact that they examined everything by externals. And indeed, on the surface we must admit that celestial bodies do have an impact upon the world and that the whole development of the universe is intertwined with them. This observation sufficed the nations and they stopped here, without delving beyond and trying to see the propelling spirit beyond the heavenly spheres. This, we know, is the A-mighty, the Creator of the heavenly hosts, the Moving Force behind every single thing.

The nations related towards the heavenly bodies as powers of influence in themselves, and not objects under the influence of something higher.

With regard to man, they also go only as far as externals. And so far as one can observe, it seems that man is in control of his fate and the more he exerts himself, the greater his success. A simple rule of cause and effect. But they ignore the fact that man's whole vitality is a gift from Above. Every successive breath a person takes is a gift of life from Hashem deserving thanks and praise.

Without Hashem, he is nullified. But the gentiles do not acknowledge this. Therefore, in every area of life, they see only the externals, and they develop a dependency on the conclusions of their senses. Israel, however, looks inside, they are internally focused. They are continually reminded to disregard externals and relate to them as to an ax in the hand of the wood chopper.

It must become clear and self evident that there is nothing whatsoever in this world that has any might of its own. Everything is propelled only by the vitality with which it is imbued by the Creator, every single moment. The Nefesh Hachaim tries to implant in us the realization that were Hashem to withdraw His flow of vitality towards the world for even an instant, all would revert to chaos and void.

We state this explicitly each morning: "Who renews in His kindness every day the act of creation, as it is written: To make (in the present tense) great luminaries, for His kindness extends forever."

These words lend a deep meaning to the words of Dovid Hamelech, who says in Tehillim: "From my flesh do I behold G-d." HaGaon R' Avrohom Eliyohu Meises explains: `From my flesh' -- when I examine myself, I do not see myself and my flesh as a separate entity. Rather, I behold Hashem. I only see the essence, the inner being, that is, the spirit of Hashem. That which gives me vitality and life, not my own might and the power of my arm. This was the faith of Dovid Hamelech and with this staunch trust he was able to go forth in battle against his enemies and not fear. "I shall pursue my enemies and overtake them and I will not return until I have put an end to them." For he does not see before his eyes enemies who present a threat as far as their power and military strength. Whatever power they possess is endowed to them steadily, at all times, by Hashem, the Source of all power and life. And surely, there is nothing to stop Hashem from giving Dovid the victory, be it against the many or the few. Thus, when the spies sowed fear in the hearts of the people regarding the power of the inhabitants of Eretz Canaan, Calev quickly hushed them:

"Do not fear them for their protective shadow has been removed from them." The formidable shadow is merely a dummy, an external vision, a superficial threat. And the moment that the shadow is removed, one can see the inner truth. And what is that truth? The moving force of Hashem. And that force, thank G-d, is on our side!

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.