By Rabbi Yechezkel Spanglet
Renowned baal teshuvah Rabbi Uri Zohar relates the following story: Two frum men were cruising down a highway on a motorcycle. Unbeknownst to them, an officer was trailing behind, hoping for an excuse to issue a summons. After quite a while, the trooper overtook the men and ordered them to the side of the road. While the men were trembling, he exclaimed “I’ve been trailing you guys for five miles and…”I couldn’t find one violation.”
Both men exclaimed jubilantly, “That’s because Hashem was with us!”
“Aha!” the trooper retorted with a large smirk, “Now I caught you – three men on one motorcycle!”
Yes Hashem is always with us, looking out for our good, caring for us. Yet how do we know this? How do we know that Hashem loves us? The strongest bond in this world is between mother and child. Let’s parallel this with the love that Hashem conveys to us. This closeness and devotion that a mother feels toward her child is in itself a Divine gift. A mother goes to great lengths to protect and nourish her child. The Al-lmighty protects us from our very beginnings as well as our body systems after birth and throughout our lives.. (Chovos Halevovos-Shaar HaBechina). Ima cleanes her infant’s soiled clothing and body without a single sigh. The Rebono Shel Olam cleanses us of our spiritual impurity. Ima’s whole day revolves around giving and serving her toddler’s needs without expecting anything in return. Our Father in Heaven serves best the needs of His children showering chesed without limits. (Mesillas Yesharim)The mother will turn over mountains for her child’s good health. Hashem is responsible for our existence and well-being as well as providing the wherewithal to live eternally. “Mommy knows what’s best for her child.” Our Designer and Creator certainly knows what’s best for us much better than we do.
This comparison illustrates an important point, but the proportions are not comparable. The love and devotion that we invest in our children is greatly limited in contrast to our Father in Heaven’s capabilities. When Dovid Hamelech wrote, “Hashem is Good to all” (Tehillim 145:9), he meant infinite goodness. When we doven everyday about Hashem’s love, it is without bounds. No human being can have a meaningful grasp of His knowledge and truthfulness. The Al-lmighty is completely independent and has no needs. Wait a minute; if that’s there’s such a distance between us, why should He love us? No reason… except that it is his “desire” to shower His infinite goodness upon us in Olam Hazeh (Derech Hashem-Rav Moshe Chayim Luzzato) and to allow us to revel in the splendor of the Schechinah in Olam Habah. (Mesillas Yesharim-Chapter 1). Last week we presented phenomena in the universe that prove that it had a Creator. Many of these facts, similarly, point to His love and kindness.
It flows from the knowledge that Hashem is our quintessential benefactor that we will feel indebted to Him and strive to do His will. This is another foundation of emunah. We will explain in later essays that even nesyonos and suffering are really for our benefit.
Let’s return to our story-If we really contemplate for a moment that Hashem is always there whatever we do, it will be a source of great simcha and inner tranquility.
Now that we have arrived at this point, there is an important question to ask ourselves. To be continued.