Wednesday, April 22, 2015

miracles can happen for a dor even as bad as the dor hamabul

1. I wrote in my last post, “Anyone who feels any connection to the world of YU/modern orthodoxy/religious Zionism in America or Israel must feel a profound sense of loss at the passing of R’ Aharon Lichtenstein.“ Someone commented that even those not connected to those worlds feel a profound sense of loss. Y’yasher kocho for making that important point. The feeling of loss may be more poignant and there may be a greater need and responsibility to mourn for those who most benefited from R’ Aharon’s influence, but the loss of a gadol like Rav Aharon Lichtenstein should have an impact on everyone. R’ Aharon Kahn shlit”a (you can listen to the hespeidim on yutorah) remarked in his hesped that his “beard and the kapote bespeak perhaps slightly different percecptions and orientations” than R’ Aharon, but still, he "loved him [R’ Aharon] very, very much. Such a statement says as much about R’ Aharon Kahn‘s gadlus as it does Rav Lichtenstein’s.  The fact that we may have different perspectives need not preclude us from having great ahavas yisrael.

2. M'inyana d'yoma of the positive things we celebrate this week, the haftarah for Metzorah (Melachim 2 ch 7:3-20) tells the story of the four lepers who discovered the destruction of the camp of Aram.  If you just start reading from where the haftarah starts you are missing important background.   There was a horrible famine going on as a result of the siege by Aram and people were literally starving. Elisha prophesied that the famine would be broken and the next day a se’ah of flour would sell for just a shekel. One of the king’s officers heard this prediction and he couldn’t believe it. “Hinei Hashem oseh arubos ba’shamayim, hayi’yeh hadavar hazeh?” Even if G-d opens windows in the sky, can such a thing be possible? Elisha responded that this man would indeed see the miracle with his own eyes, but he would not get to eat from the food. The last pasuk in the haftarah confirms that Elisha's prophecy came true, as this officer saw the markets open and flooded with food, but he is trampled to death before he can eat anything.

The pashtus is that the king’s officer was a scoffer who did not believe in nevuah or that G-d could make such miracles.   The Torah Shleima on Parshas Noach (quoted by R’ Chaim Drukman in his sefer Kim’a Kim’a), however, brings a Midrash that sheds a completely different light on things. The Midrash picks up on the officer’s use of the term “arubos ha’shamayim,” language which echoes the description of the punishment given to dor habamul upon whom G-d opened the “arubos ha’shamayim” and brought down rain. It’s not that the officer did not believe G-d could do miracles – the officer did not believe G-d would do miracles for a generation that was a wicked as the dor hamabul!

The lesson the navi leaves us with is that we should not dismiss a dor as unworthy of miracles, no matter who they are, no matter if they are chilonim or even worse. 

Should we dismiss or question the miracles that have occurred time and time again in Eretz Yisrael just because it happens to be that there are non-religious Jews defending our country and building our country, or should we celebrate each of those miracles, the greatest of all of them being the existence of the State itself?  It's not for us to know G-d's cheshbonos of who he does miracles for or why he does them -- it's us for us to show appreciation for them.


  1. Yasher koach. Great medrash, and thanks for going to the trouble of providing the link. I printed the Torah Shleima out, and I'm set for my kiddush.

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