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Thought for the Day: Weak Spots in Creation/Enemies of Klal Yisrael/Kingdoms of the Nations -- All One

One of my favorite poems (ok... I've only read about four poems -- excluding Nursery Rhymes -- in my life, but saying it this way gives me the appearance of well read) is The Deacon's Masterpiece (aka, The Deacon's One Hoss Shay).  The Deacon, you see, was irritated with things breaking.  He reasoned that when something broke, it meant the manufacturer had been lazy/cheap about the component that was responsible; that is, a piece had been included that was of less quality than the rest of the components of the contraption.  He therefore set out to build a one hoss shay that did not suffer from that malady; there was no weakest link.  I urge you to read the poem, but the bottom line is that the driver of the shay found himself one day sitting on just a mound of dust -- every component had failed at precisely the same time.  So the poem ends:
End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
Logic is logic. That's all I say.
Still brings tears to my eyes.

Whenever you have a bridge from one modality to another, that bridge will perforce be imperfect.  After all, it is trying to be one thing on one side and another on the other.  A shay is stationery under the person, but moving on the road.  Soap is soluble in oil on one side and water on the other (that's how it lifts the grease).  This universe is a bridge between the Creator and His masterpiece -- man.  In the case of the universe, the imperfections themselves are actually the point of creation.  It is man's dealing with and overcoming those imperfections that actually give us our perfection.  The Maharal's נר מצוה (introduced in TftD on our four challenges) discusses that and gives as a fascinating insight into the precision and depth of prophetic visions and also the unity of Creation.

In Daniel's vision, the four kingdoms of the nations that were/are the world powers -- Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome -- are described as various beasts rising from the sea.  Chazal, in B'reishis Raba, relate those four kingdoms to imperfections/weaknesses introduced into creation from its inception.  Of course, those four kingdoms are also the four leaders of the diasporas that have taken Klal Yisrael out of our land and away from our Temple.  Why four?  Why animals?  Why from the sea?  Why are weaknesses in creation expressed as kingdoms?  Why are those kingdoms all enemies of Klal Yisrael?

Very, very briefly: HaShem created this world to express His Glory; meaning to say, so that every part of the creation would accept willingly and with love to act in accordance with His Will because they see that as True and Perfect. The only nation who accepted that on themselves and to bring that message to the world is Klal Yisrael, the nation that makes Him King.  Not ruler, which just means in change, but King -- one who rules by choice of and at the insistence of a nation.  The kingdoms of the nations are therefore a direct challenge to the very reason for creation.  A weakness in creation means a place where HaShem's Will is felt less keenly/openly; obviously that will make its appearance as a kingdom.  Since those kingdoms challenge the authority of HaShem, they naturally are enemies of His representative nation and their national mission because the absorption/destruction of the Jewish people as there final blow to HaShem's sovereignty.  Man is created in HaShem's image (צלם אלוקים), so putting one's efforts into thwarting HaShem's purpose for creation ipso facto makes him less human; ie, turns him into an animal.  Animals that come from the sea onto dry land have no real power, as they are dying even as the attack.  The enemies of Klal Yisrael have, at the end of the day, no real existence since they are fighting the Author of existence.

Why four?  Sorry... no more time.


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