Thursday, 03 March 2011
It's All for the Best
Political activism is worthless; it won't do a thing to save Judea, Samaria, or Jerusalem. Politicians can't stop Iran's nuclear ambitions or the Islamic Jihadi objectives. Torah, teshuva, and prayer can. If you don't believe in prayer, says my beloved teacher and spiritual guide Rav Shalom Arush, you don't believe in Hashem.
Let's not wait for more tribulations to bring us together in a new unity, rallying around emuna. The growing emuna alliance will flourish, G-d willing, and lead the way to the final redemption of our people, our homeland, and global peace. But, let's do it on our own initiative, without Hashem having to prod us like stubborn cows that won't move.
We don't yet have the entire picture. As humans, with flesh-and-blood eyes and brains, we don't understand everything that Hashem is doing right now in the Arab world and everywhere else around the globe. But we do know that he's doing everything for the very best.
Rav Elchonon Wasserman of saintly and martyred memory told the following parable:
Once a man who knew nothing at all about agriculture came to a farmer and asked to be taught about farming. The farmer took him to his field and asked him what he saw. “I see a beautiful piece of land, lush with grass, and pleasing to the eye.” Then the visitor stood aghast while the farmer plowed under the grass and turned the beautiful green field into a mass of shallow brown ditches.
“Why did you ruin the field!” he demanded.
“Be patient. You will see,” said the farmer.
The farmer then showed his guest a sackful of plump kernels of wheat and said, “Tell me what you see.” The visitor described the nutritious, inviting grain, and then, once more watched in shock as the farmer ruined something beautiful. This time, he walked up and down the furrows and dropped kernels into the open ground wherever he went. Then he covered the kernels with clods of soil.
“Are you insane?” the man demanded. “First you destroyed the field and then you ruined the grain!”
“Be patient. You will see.”
Time went by, and once more the farmer took his guest out to the field. Now they saw endless, straight rows of green stalks sprouting up from all the furrows. The visitor smiled broadly.
“I apologize. Now I understand what you were doing. You made the field more beautiful than ever. The art of farming is truly marvelous.”
“No,” said the farmer. “We are not done. You must still be patient.”
More time went by and the stalks were fully grown. The farmer came with a sickle and chopped them all down as his visitor watched open-mouthed, seeing how the orderly field became an ugly scene of destruction. The farmer bound the fallen stalks into bundles and decorated the field with them. Later, he took the bundles to another area where he beat and crushed them until they became a mass ofstraw and loose kernels. Then he separated the kernels from the chaff and piled them up in a huge hill. Always he told his protesting visitor, “We are not done, you must be more patient.”
The farmer came with his wagon and piled it high with grain, which he took to a mill. There, the beautiful grain was ground into formless, choking dust. The visitor complained again. “You have taken grain and transformed it into dirt!” Again, he was told to be patient.
The farmer put the dust into sacks and took it back home. He took some dust and mixed it with water while his guest marveled at the foolishness of making “whitish mud.” Then the farmer fashioned the “mud” into the shape of a loaf. The visitor saw the perfectly formed loaf and smiled broadly, but his happiness did not last. The farmer kindled a fire in an oven and put the loaf into it.
“Now I know you are insane. After all that work, you burn what you have made.”
The farmer looked at him and laughed. “Have I not told you to be patient?” Finally, the farmer opened the oven and took out a freshly baked bread, crisp and brown, with an aroma that made the visitor’s mouth water. “Come,” the farmer said. He led his guest to the kitchen table where he cut the bread and offered his now-pleased visitor a liberally buttered slice. “Now,” the farmer said, “now you understand.”
Hashem is the Farmer and we are the uncomprehending visitors who do not begin to understand His ways or the outcome of His plan. Only when the process is complete and Redemption is a reality will the Jewish people know why all that transpired during this long and bitter exile had to happen. Until then, we must be patient and have faith that everything, even the destructive and painful, is a part of a Divine process that will produce ultimate goodness and beauty.