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17 Elul 5765 - September 21, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly
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Opinion & Comment
Malchuyos

by HaRav Uri Hain

With Rosh Hashonoh fast approaching, everyone searches for ways to better fulfill the obligations of this awesome day. The concept of Malchuyos (Majesty) is certainly a paramount topic of Rosh Hashonoh as emphasized by Chazal. Although much has been written on this area, certain developments in recent years have caused many to realize to a much greater extent the awesome scope of Hashem's Malchus. These lines are an attempt to partially unveil a glimpse of the mind-boggling proportions of the Malchus Shomayim.

Chazal, in Midrash Rabba, parshas VaYeitze, relate the question asked by a wealthy matron: What is Hashem occupied with since Creation? The answer was "matchmaking." Claiming that she was capable of doing this with ease, she matched a thousand of her manservants with a thousand woman-servants. She thought she had proved her point until many of the couples came to her the next day with black eyes, broken arms and legs, and complaining that they could not stay with their assigned mate. She then admitted the superiority of Hashem's ability.

Two questions come to mind. First, how can it be that He who created the entire world in six days and who can judge all of humanity in one day, should need so much time for match- making? Second, what about all the other areas of the world - - who takes care of them?

In order to understand Chazal's message, let us examine what is involved in achieving a successful shidduch. Each one, the boy and the girl, has grown up in very different surroundings, with different parents and siblings, different friends, schools, teachers, etc., all of which influenced them differently. They have different natures, personalities, and character traits. They have received different training, and experienced different events. In short, the resultant personalities from such varied backgrounds would seem to guarantee the impossibility of their being compatible. But we know it happens over and over again, year after year, countless times.

How?

Through an Infinite Wisdom which sees to it that the two backgrounds, as different as they are, should nevertheless, produce in their personalities, outlooks, that which will make them compatible. And what a colossal accomplishment that is. First, the parents and grandparents, and previous generations had to develop so that they would be the type of people who would raise such compatible children. They had to live in suitable locations, with suitable surroundings, people, schools, and so on, to nurture the couple, to cause them to meet and to want to marry. All of this means going back many generations in preparation, perhaps in many lands, involving thousands of people directly, who in turn were influenced suitably by many more thousands of people. Certainly, a vast and complex social undertaking.

And while all of this was going on for one future couple, similar arrangements were transpiring for all the millions of other couples who are meant to wed. This means that at any given moment, millions upon millions of events and factors are transpiring under the direct control and guidance of Hashem to see to it that millions of shidduchim will succeed. Every minute of every day this stupendous accomplishment is taking place!

This, perhaps, is what Chazal meant when they said that Hashem is forever occupied with matchmaking. And this could be the meaning of the comparison to the difficulty of Krias Yam Suf. Not that anything is actually difficult for Him, but that it was a very complex task, requiring a multitude of social, economic, and environmental factors, stretching over many generations and locations.

The Red Sea had to be produced and developed in the right place and time, which went back to Creation. It had to be of suitable proportions to allow the entire Egyptian army to be located within its banks, so it could be destroyed all at once. This meant that for many generations before, this body of water played a major role in the social and economic life of millions of people in a very large region of the world. And many environmental factors over a large area had to be arranged to produce the great winds to split the sea, freezing conditions to freeze the water, drying conditions to make the sea bed dry for passage. Also there were the myriad factors necessary so that every Egyptian soldier would be prepared to behave as necessary and should be deserving of the exact punishment meted out to each one.

The main difference between matchmaking and Krias Yam Suf is that, in the former, the complex arrangements culminate in a seemingly natural conclusion, while in the latter they culminate in a miraculous conclusion.

After examining the stupendous achievements involved in match- making and Krias Yam Suf, it is very easy to discern similar patterns in all other aspects of life. Chazal gave matchmaking as an example because it so clearly demonstrates the enormously complex task required. They certainly expect us to extend this understanding into other areas.

Choosing a source of parnossoh, for example, involves the person's personality, which is influenced by his family, education, acquaintances, and everything else. And once he has embarked, the degree of success depends on economic conditions locally and nationally, and even globally. It also depends on the personalities and general situation of potential customers, patients, employers, and the like, all of which touch on thousands of people and factors, in current and in previous generations.

Health, physical and mental, is also a complex area, involving many, many factors. The tremendously complex working of the human body, how it functions in good health and in bad is becoming more and more well-known. It is quite clear that the millions of bodily functions all acting simultaneously are influenced by many factors, such as genetic makeup, diet, climate, contact with others, pollution, behavior, and more. The medical treatment available is affected by the doctors, nurses, hospitals, medicines available, the development of medical cures and techniques, the financial situation of the patient, and countless other factors.

The world of government and politics is another vast and complex area which influences, and is influenced by, a myriad of social, economic and personality factors. The economic condition of any given place is certainly affected by an enormous multitude of factors. Social climate and behavior touch on millions of people, past and present, their personalities, and behavior. Education, morality, character, wars, entertainment — are all enormously complex areas of life. And to think that all of this is being guided and controlled simultaneously by Hashem is truly mind- boggling!

Hashem's active role and direction in all areas is succinctly expressed in the morning prayer before Krias Shema: "For He alone performs powerful acts, creates new things, wages wars, sows good deeds, produces salvations, creates healing, Master of wonders. Who, in His goodness, renews every day forever acts of Creation."

If anyone needs proof that this is the case in our own time, he need only read some of the thousands of accounts of clear- cut Divine Providence which occurred in recent years, as recorded in the books of R' P. Krohn, R' H. Teller, R' Y. Zilberstein, to name just a few. If we examine any story, we will see that in order to bring about the remarkable chain of events, many people, events, circumstances, and other factors, had to coalesce in just the right way, time and place. Since nothing happens in a vacuum, as discussed above, all of the factors required a myriad of secondary factors. And while all of this is happening in the development of one story, so too, at the same time, things are happening in thousands of other stories of Divine Providence.

The recording and dissemination of so many current, blatant acts of Divine Providence is perhaps one of the greatest developments in modern times. Their potential impact to strengthen our belief and deep awareness of Hashem's active Presence and control of everything is immeasurable. To see how He managed to guide and manipulate the almost infinite array of factors in our lives and in the lives of those around us, right before our eyes, will undoubtedly inspire everyone.

Of course we cannot leave out the area of reward and punishment. We know that all of man's actions are deserving of reward or punishment, which is meted out by Hashem through varied means, some of which were touched on above, such as parnossoh, health, marriage, and children. This means that the colossal and complex structure described above is being employed as a means to bring the proper justice to people for their actions. Hence, not only is Hashem guiding and arranging all of the mind-boggling factors just to keep the world functioning, He is also doing it in such a way that every person should be the recipient of His love and attention, compassion and wrath, assistance and needed warnings, and so on. And of course it is being done without hampering man's free will, and without our being able to see directly His guiding hand.

In addition, we know that important events that happen in the world-at-large are somehow meant for the Jewish people and all events and actions are ultimately leading towards the fulfillment of the grand design and purpose which Hashem has set for the world that will be realized at the time of the Redemption. This means that these goals are also playing an important role in shaping and guiding everything which is taking place throughout the history of the world — with Hashem at the wheel every inch of the way!

All of this is truly breathtaking and mind-boggling. We have only touched on a few aspects of Hashem's activities and have already become distinctly aware of the totally overwhelming scope of His Malchus. While we can speak of Hashem's infinite wisdom, power, goodness, greatness, and many other attributes, there does not seem to be a word or expression which adequately describes this facet of Hashem.

A person, no matter how brilliant he might be, cannot possibly do a hundred things at once; we cannot even imagine doing a thousand actions simultaneously. We cannot begin to contemplate how Hashem can be involved in billions upon billions of actions every day, day after day, in every part of the universe. And He has total control of everything, guiding each molecule, each creature, each raindrop, each glass splinter in the Twin Towers explosion. Everything is directed by His invisible hand to carry out His will. This is His Malchus: total, infinite, colossal, awesome, beyond our comprehension! HaMelech!

*

It would seem beneficial to point out some of the practical results of the above:

1) An enhanced intellectual and emotional awareness of Hashem's involvement in our daily affairs, produces a great fulfillment of the dictum, "Shivisi Hashem Lenegdi Somid — I constantly place Hashem in front of me."

2) Better kavonoh in davening, brochos, and performance of mitzvos, after being inspired by Hashem's Malchus.

3) Greater importance attached to our actions, with the realization that they are an integral part of many Divine plans. In an unseen manner, our thoughts and deeds are influencing something or someone.

4) Deeper sense of gratitude to Hashem for the goodness He bestows on us, when we realize the great multitude of factors He arranged for this purpose, frequently spanning many years, places and people.

5) A greater love of Hashem, prompted by the realization that He is constantly doing an endless number of things for our protection, success, good health, and benefit in many ways.

6) A deeper feeling of awe, due to the increased awareness of His incredible ability to guide and arrange an infinite number of things simultaneously.

7) A greater trust in Hashem, when we understand that He is controlling and directing everything that happens, from the smallest detail to the largest; when we realize that our being so small and seemingly insignificant in the vast universe in no way hinders His complete involvement in every aspect of our lives.

8) And of course, a greater appreciation of Malchus, which can help us fulfill the duties of Rosh Hashonoh and thereby, hopefully, merit a, "Kesivoh vechasimah tovah!"


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