Wednesday, March 18, 2020

controlling the situation

What I think drives people’s fear in the current situation is the feeling of loss of control.
A lot of people are familiar with the segulah of the Nefesh haChaim that internalizing “ain od milvado,” that all is in Hashem’s hands, can help a person overcome any and all difficulties.  The (mis)impression that one might walk away with is that man’s job is to simply surrender his fate to Hashem.  Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Nefesh haChaim starts his book by defining “tzelem Elokim” as meaning that like G-d, man is endowed with the ability to control the universe.  The pasuk davka uses the term “Elokim,” the name of G-d that refers to his capacity as “ba’al ha’kochos,” master of all forces in nature, because it is that power which Hashem built into our makeup. 
When our ability to control our environment is challenged, jeopardized, it shakes us to our core because that power of control is at the core of who we are.
But things are not out of our hands.  Nefesh haChaim writes (1:4):
וזאת תורת האדם כל איש ישראל אל יאמר בלבו ח''ו. כי מה אני ומה כחי לפעול במעשי השפלים שום ענין בעולם אמנם יבין וידע ויקבע במחשבות לבו. שכל פרטי מעשיו ודבוריו ומחשבותיו כל עת ורגע. לא אתאבידו ח''ו. ומה רבו מעשיו ומאד גדלו ורמו. שכל א' עולה כפי שרשה לפעול פעולתה בגבהי מרומים בעולמות וצחצחות האורות העליונים.
So many people are talking these days about the need for emunah.  It's true we need emunah in Hashem, but we also need emunah in ourselves, in our ability through Torah and tefilah to make a difference.

1 comment:

  1. "man is endowed with the ability to control the universe"

    to rule over fish and fowl and beasts and bugs (1:26), all that which is plain to see*...

    but the viral world? clothed with a microscope then can the naked eye see.

    clothing all of man's own making.

    Hashem dressed our hands with skins of "Torah"-- when the seed of Israel responds to the Voice we with privilege heard at Sinai**, invisibly, without further ado, the dirty work versus viruses...done.

    *before your >eyes< (Dev. 4:34), you have been >shown< (4:35), "'ain od milvado,'"


    -- seed of Israel, 4:37