Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Leaps of Faith, Great and Small

When Klal Yisrael was being prepared to receive the Torah, they unanimously told Moshe, "Everything that HaShem says, we will do."  HaShem then told Moshe, that He would appear to Klal Yisrael in such a manner that they would listen and also believe in Moshe forever. (Shmos 19:8,9)   Goodness gracious, shouldn't they believe in Moshe already?  We were all astounded that Moshe said "ka-chatzos" by makos b'choros because of those with little faith; is Klal Yisrael at such a low level?  And what's with "Everything HaShem says, we will do"; who else is there to obey?

The S'porno explains that Klal Yisrael certainly believed what Moshe was telling them.  Their concern was that they had never encountered a n'vu'ah like Moshe Rabeinu was claiming, where HaShem spoke to him "panim el panim".  They were certainly ready to sign up unconditionally for anything that HaShem wanted (all that HaShem says, we will do), but they were unwilling to give that same kind of commitment if Moshe was getting his information from a malach.  That is what HaShem intended by His assurance, "they will believe in you forever".  HaShem told Moshe that the entire Klal Yisrael would experience "panim el panim" n'vu'ah so that they would know that such a level was even possible.  Once they appreciated that and appreciated that only Moshe had that level all the time, they would be more than willing to accept the Torah, lock, stock, and sh'b'al peh.  Still a leap of faith, but a reasonable and justified leap of faith.

The truth is that we all make leaps of faith all the time.  We all believe in atoms even though we've never seen one.  Maybe you'll say, "Sure I believe in atoms; why not?  Lots of smart people say they exist and it doesn't cost me anything to believe in them.  I wouldn't bet my life on their existence, though."  Somehow we think that faith is ok for religion and (other) stuff that doesn't really matter.  But when it comes to my life -- by golly I want facts, not faith.  Really?  Did you check the floor this morning before stepping on it?  Did you check your food for poisons before you ate it?  That's not facts, that's faith.  You have a lot of confidence that the floor will hold you and the food is not poisonous.  Why?  Experience and knowledge; two things that take a leap of faith out of the realm of recklessness and bring it to reasonable and appropriate.

We have three thousand years of experience with the Torah way of life; it works and nothing else does.  We have plenty of ways to increase our knowledge; go out and learn.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…