What was the purpose of Hashem performing all of the miracles of the Makos, k’rias Yam Suf, and the miracles at Har Sinai when the Torah was given? Hashem could have easily taken us out of Mitzrayim by just killing the Mitzriyim in any number of ways without the open miracles.
If we look in the Torah as the Makos are described, we find the words “So that you may KNOW that I am Hashem” or something similar, repeated over and over again. Similarly, we find at the time of Hashem giving us the Torah, the Torah tells us, “You have been shown (all the miracles) in order to KNOW that Hashem, He is the G-d! There is none beside Him” (D’varim 4:35). It seems that “knowing Hashem” was the end goal and purpose of all the miracles. In fact, the Rambam writes, “And one should place before his eyes, constantly, one end goal: that is, to grasp Hashem Yisbarach according to the ability of man to KNOW Him.”
What does it mean to “know Hashem”? HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l explains this to mean a tangible recognition of Hashem. An analogy often given is how we would act if our rebbe or rav or the gadol ha’dor was standing before us. Certainly, our actions, words, and even thoughts – if we knew he could read our mind – would be at the highest standard humanly possible. “Daas Hashem” is not simple intellectual knowledge. It is deeply penetrated clarity, which affects our every thought, word, and deed. Needless to say, this is the highest of levels. We work on this all our lives. Pesach is the time to work on and transmit emunah, bitachon, and daas to future generations.
One powerful way to proactively strengthen one specific aspect of our “knowing Hashem” is to become more aware of Hashem’s involvement in our own daily lives. This will, b’ezras Hashem, result in greater awareness of Hashem, an enhanced appreciation for Hashem’s love for us, a deeper love for Him, greater simchah in our lives, and ultimately a more consistent and constant attachment with Hashem, as we seek Him throughout our hectic days. “Knowing Hashem,” leading to these “benefits,” are the very essence of our existence and amongst the main purposes of our lives. This specific aspect of Emunah and Bitachon is labeled by the Ramban (end of Parshas Bo) as the “foundation of all of Torah.”
HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt”l and HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l, in a joint open letter to all of klal Yisrael, wrote about the crucial urgency of strengthening this particular aspect of Emunah. They wrote that all 613 mitzvos are dependent on strengthening our emunah in this specific area, and suggested that each person start writing his or her own personal daily experiences in a notebook.
This aspect of our emunah includes three steps after experiencing a mundane “non-incredible” hashgachah pratis gift in our own daily personal lives:
- Recognize that this event and every event, big or small, is coming from Hashem.
- Contemplate Hashem’s love behind the gift. He is running the entire Universe and yet He is right here with us, granting us this gift of feeling His presence and love.
- Thank Hashem for the gift and the expression of love behind the gift.
I would like to illustrate by sharing two examples that occurred within the last two weeks to people with whom I am close. The first relates to discovery of the powerful pasuk I shared last week. A friend was walking into the kitchen one day for a moment, and just at that moment he overheard Rav Efrem Goldberg relate the greatness of that pasuk and how it can even count for 90 Amens. He literally was just coming into the kitchen to get something as his wife was listening to this shiur, and this minute caught his attention. Wow! After he learned what the true meaning of the pasuk is and how powerful it is, he felt so elated and privileged that Hashem had bestowed this great gift upon him. He felt Hashem’s love and that brought him joy, even amidst the pain we are all enduring.
The second story involved someone whose child was not feeling well and asked for chicken soup. Soup could not be made until late evening or the next morning due to some ingredients being frozen. As the mother was taking ingredients out of the freezer, she opened a closet to get something she needed and she noticed a container she had no idea she had – chicken broth with a reliable kosher for Pesach kashrus symbol (she had already prepared her kitchen for Pesach). She always makes her own soup and could not even recall buying this soup last year. Wow! She too felt Hashem’s gift and love.
While these stories won’t make it into the next “incredible” hashgachah pratis bestseller, they will significantly help those who personally experienced them to grow in their “daas Hashem” and fulfill one of their main purposes in life.
The incredible hashgachah pratis stories we hear are inspiring and important. In fact, as the Ramban explains, they are actually the catalyst for our realizing that every small, mundane event in our lives is also Hashem’s direct hashgachah. However, feeling Hashem’s hugs and kisses daily in our own personal lives will result in steady sustainable growth not attainable by the spurts of inspiration through the “wow” stories. Expending the effort to notice, and even record, our own daily hugs from Hashem will also enable us to share them with excitement and enthusiasm with our families. Imagine sitting at the Yom Tov table and sharing our written personal experiences throughout the year when we felt Hashem’s presence and love directly. Imagine the consistent growth for the entire family as we share weekly at our Shabbos table.
Modeling and sharing are the best ways to give our children and grandchildren the great gift of Emunah, Bitachon, and Daas Hashem in their own lives. It could be argued that there is no greater gift we can give to our children and grandchildren than the gift of Emunah, Bitachon, and a deeper and more real relationship with Hashem.
Wishing all a Chag Kasher v’Sameiach.