Follow The Directions
By Rabbi Pinchas Avruch
"A man went from the house of Levi and he took the daughter of Levi. The
woman conceived and gave birth to a son..." (Shemos/Exodus 2:1-2) Rashi
explains that Amram, a grandson of Levi, had already been married to
Yocheved, Levi's daughter, but they separated because of Pharaoh's decree
to toss all male children into the Nile. Their daughter, Miriam, suggested
to her father that his "decree" was more severe than Pharaoh's, for
Pharaoh was only set on annihilating the males, while Amram's
action "annihilated" the females as well. From this re-marriage came
Moshe, the greatest prophet of all time and rescuer of the Jewish Nation.
What was the epiphany experienced by Amram?
The Chofetz Chaim (1) compares this situation to that of King Chizkiyahu
(Hezekiah) who did not marry because he prophesied that he would have the
evil Menashe (Manasseh) as a son. But the prophet Yeshaya (Isaiah) rebuked
him that it was not his place to subvert the Divine plan. He had to fulfill
his obligation to marry and bear children and leave the course of history
to G-d. Indeed, his son Menashe was of the most evil kings of the Jewish
people, but Chizkiyahu's later generations included the righteous king
Yoshiyahu (Josiah) and the prophets Daniel, Chanania, Mishael and Azaria.
So too, explains the Chofetz Chaim, Amram realized that human perspective
is limited. When G-d has detailed how we are to approach a situation, we
cannot allow decisions of Divine service to be constricted and second-
guessed by the questions borne by human logic or emotion. Mankind may be
able to learn from the past, but lacking the breadth of knowledge that
comes from knowing G-d's plan for the future, we cannot make authoritative
decisions. How do we, then, make decisions? We follow Amram's example: G-d
gave us a Torah that contains the instructions for approaching all of
life's situations. Our assignment is to cleave to Him and follow His
instructions; He will make sure that everything works out in the end. This
is the challenge of the Jew, the lifetime assignment with which we are
charged: learning to negate our wants and concerns to the knowledge that G-
d will always see us through.
Have a Good Shabbos!
(1) Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen Kagan of Radin; 1838-1933; author of basic
works in Jewish law, philosophy and ethics and renowned for his saintly
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch
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