Forethoughts and Afterthoughts.
Commentary on the weekly Torah reading.
In memory of Father, Yosef Ben Zelig.
March 25th 1911 - May 2nd 2008
In memory of Mother, Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh.
June 9th 1925 - April 16th 2003
In memory of Uncle, Moshe Binyamin Ben Tzvi Hirsh.
December 12 1929 - February 2nd 2010
In Loving Memory of Moreinu Horav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh HaYeshiva Ner Yisroel
Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32)
32:10 He (the Jewish people) will discover Him (G-D) in a desert land, in desolation, a howling wilderness ...
The Unkelus translates this section of the verse is as follows: He (G-D) provides for their needs in desert land, in parched earth where there is no water ...
At first glance, it is difficult to match his translation with the verse.
However, after some observation, thought, study, and over twenty grandchildren, the following comes to mind.
We cannot be expected to fully believe in G-D from speeches that are given by people who were born with a natural ability to speak in a convincing manner. There are too many mutually exclusive religions with such talkers and they can’t be all true. Neither can we be expected to fully believe in G-D because that’s what ‘everybody’ nearby does, so it must be true. History has shown us way too many social manipulators who have succeeded in getting large masses to do strange things, including atrocities. And from Deuteronomy chapter 13 we know that we cannot be expected to fully believe in G-D from miracles.
And we live in a world with so many types of visible bullies. So how can we be expected to fully believe in a G-D that is invisible? And how can we be expected to fully believe in a G-D who knows everything that is going on and who actively manages the affairs of mankind as a whole, and who actively manages the affairs of each person, and who gives and monitors just reward and punishment when we see good things happening to bad people and bad things happening to good people?
Yet again, how can somebody who lived long ago expect that after over thirty-three scary and frequently hostile centuries of Jewish history there will still be Jews who are still alive and who know that they are Jews and who loyally try to keep the Torah?
And how can anybody who lived long ago expect that the Jewish people will return to a land promised to them by G-D after they left it or after they were forcibly exiled from it not once, not twice, but three times? (Yaakov / Jacob’s family returning to Israel after slavery in Egypt, the exiled to Babylon returning to Israel and building the second temple, and the exiled to four corners of the globe living today in Israel.)
I know that many people today go hungry. And I know that many people have died from starvation (as well as from other causes). And I know that there have been years of shortages in different places over the globe.
Every morning I seek to properly say all the blessings in our prayer book. In one, I thank G-D who ‘provides for all my needs.’
I can only speak from my own personal life experiences. My experiences in how my needs and those of my family were provided for have helped me discover G-D and solidify my belief in the sometimes desolate and howling wilderness we wake up to each day.
Discover G-D yourself while you can.
Think about your own life, the lives of your parents. Speak to people you know. … Ask you father and he will tell you, your elders and they will say it to you (verse 7).