Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
haaros

Haaros

Parshiyos Tazriya Umetzora 5758 - '98

Outline Vol. 2, # 26

by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein


Hashem's Help -- Ezer Eloki

Tzora'as, a leprous-type disease, occurred in a miraculous manner. It came largely as a result of error or transgression, and could only be diagnosed by a Kohein, not a physician. We have discussed this concept at length in previous years.

One question in this regard has always disturbed me. The Ramban (end of parshas Bo), states emphatically that "there is no such thing as nature," but everything that occurs is miraculous. He makes a distinction between "hidden miracles" -- everyday occurrences, and "open miracles" -- extraordinary events.

Elsewhere, it is clear from Ramban's writing that the "hidden miracles" -- the everyday occurrences -- are what we generally refer to as "nature."

Granted that it is important to recognize G-d's hand in the "natural world," but what is the meaning of the statement "there is no such thing as nature"? Isn't this just a matter of semantics? Ramban himself refers to nature several times!


Sidur of Rav Yaakov Emden (Tefilas Al Hanisim)

Years ago, I came across the words of Rav Shlomo Kluger, who made the distinction between man's point of view and Hashem's. In man's eyes, extraordinary events seem miraculous; everyday occurrences seem to be natural. To Hashem's outlook, however, there is no such distinction -- everything was planned long ago; extraordinary events are just as natural as everyday occurrences.

This year, the words of Rav Yerucham Lebovitz caught my attention.


Da'as Chochmo Umussar, Volume One

There is no real difference between nature and events beyond nature. In the one realm, miracles come about less directly, in the other realm, miracles come about in a more direct fashion. Hashem helps us all the time; yet, it is only at Pesach that we say: Lo al yedei malach, lo al yedei saraph, v'lo al yedei shliach -- "Not through an angel, nor messenger, nor agent," rak Hashem b'atzmo ubichvodo -- "only Hashem, Himself, in His full Glory." The "open miracles" show a direct connection; this is what we refer to as the ezer Eloki, "G-d's help."

Chasom Sofer made a similar distinction.


The Difference Between Moshe and Yehoshua

In Sefer Yehoshua (Book of Joshua), a malach (angel) came to Yehoshua and declared that he (the angel) would fight the wars on behalf of Hashem's people. Chasom Sofer, in his chidushim to tractate Megilah, noted a discrepancy. From the verses, the angel's declaration seemed to be a blessing, yet the Talmud declares that it was a punishment due to lack of Torah study!

Both are correct. The commentaries relate in parshas Mishpatim, that when Hashem offered to send Moshe a malach, Moshe protested. He did not want any angel; he desired only Hashem's direct guidance. Hashem acquiesced, but promised that the angel would have to suffice in the days of Yehoshua.

When the angel did, indeed, appear to Yehoshua, Yehoshua also protested. The angel responded: "Your master rejected me; do you also want to reject me?" He would not budge. The result was that Yehoshua would not have the direct help from Hashem b'atzmo ubichvodo -- "Hashem, Himself, in His full Glory," but through an intermediary.

Why? Had the generation applied themselves to Torah study as diligently as possible, they would have merited a level of prophecy akin to that of Moshe, which was called "face to face," i.e., direct. Instead, they would be relegated to an indirect sort of help.


Da'as Chochmo Umussar

Rav Yerucham Lebovitz discussed the relationship between the two levels of Divine assistance. Everything, he held, comes about through nature. We are unable to change nature, and the Torah commands us to respect nature and protect our lives. To attempt to transcend the laws of nature would be tantamount to defying Hashem's world. Quite the contrary -- we find that the Avos (forefathers) were working men, and the Mishnah states: Yafeh Torah im derech eretz -- "Torah study, combined with an occupation, is fine." Rather, by devoting ourselves to the natural, earthy world -- in an attempt to fulfill our duties -- we can merit a higher level of assistance, the Ezer Eloki -- Hashem's help.

We have previously discussed this attitude of Rav Lebovitz and the Alter of Kelm -- that relying purely on miracles shows a lack of emunah (faith). Our faith is not that Hashem will help us in a purely supernatural manner, but that our endeavors will receive assistance. If we strive properly, in this world, we, too, may merit the aid of Lo al yedei malach, lo al yedei saraph, v'lo al yedei shliach -- "Not through an angel, nor messenger, nor agent," rak Hashem b'atzmo ubichvodo -- "only Hashem, Himself, in His full Glory."

 


Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
Kollel of Kiryas Radin
11 Kiryas Radin
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Phone: (914) 362-5156
E-mail: yaakovb@torah.org

Good Shabbos!


Text Copyright © '98 Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis, Inc.



 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

Why Is Rosh Hashanah Hiding?
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Lessons to be Learned from the Jealousy of Moshe Rabbeinu
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Battle Hymn of the Republic
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

ArtScroll

Framed Symbols Part II
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

One Teaspoon, Or Two?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Standing Still and Moving Up
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Taking Stock Of The Nation When The Time Comes For Transfer Of Power
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Was Moshe a Bad Neighbor?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

The Greatest Wonder of All
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Secret of Teshuvah
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Speaking Of Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

The Covenant and Remembrance
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

> Family Values
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

Parting Words
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

On a Personal Note
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

G-d's Concealment
Shlomo Katz - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information