Nosein liv’heimah lachmah, livnei oreiv asher yikra’u.
He gives to an animal its food, to young ravens that cry out.
Hashem provides food for animals, even for those who may have a method to obtain food. He brings the rain that makes the grass grow, even on mountains where nobody is cultivating it. That provides animals like cows, buffalo, goats, and sheep their food, even though they have not performed any action to acquire the food. Ravens eat almost anything. Rashi (Eiruvin 22a) states that the raven is cruel to its offspring; and when the young ravens cry out, Hashem brings them insects to eat.
The Midrash (both on T’hilim and the Tana D’Vei Eliyahu Rabbah) states that if man’s intellect was removed, he would be incapable of providing for his needs and be like the animals mentioned above. The Midrash is teaching us that it is Hashem Who provides us with food.
Hashem provides us with the intellect. One of the reasons for doing so is to enable us to provide for our sustenance. In a commentary on Tana D’Vei Eliyahu Rabbah, the M’orei HaEish writes that the lesson of the midrash related above is that we must always remember that our intellect (our seichel) comes from Hashem. When we make a big sale, close a very profitable deal, or get a job with a large salary, we should not take pride in that “achievement.” The Chofetz Chaim writes that it would be foolish to take pride in any accomplishments such as wealth, brilliance, or might, since that is all predetermined by Hashem. Effort and choice is our domain. Results are exclusively from Hashem.
The Chofetz Chaim adds that we can take pride in “knowing Hashem,” which he explains to mean that we recognize that Hashem runs every aspect and detail of the world and our lives. “Knowing” means that we live our lives with that knowledge. If we take pride in the result of a great business deal or investment or any other “achievement” rather than in our effort, then we are not “knowing Hashem.”
The Chofetz Chaim and many others derive this lesson from the p’sukim in Yirmeyahu 9:22-23:
Thus said Hashem: Let not the wise man glorify himself with his wisdom, and let not the strong man glorify himself with his strength, let not the rich man glorify himself with his wealth. For only with this may one glorify himself – contemplating and knowing me, for I am Hashem Who does kindness, justice, and righteousness in the land, for in these is My desire – the word of Hashem.
The p’sukim are openly teaching us that we are not to feel praiseworthy for our wisdom, wealth, power, and other gifts that Hashem has bestowed upon us. The question is what are we doing with those gifts? Are we living up to the potential that Hashem has invested in us?
Knowing Hashem, “haskeil v’yadoa osi (contemplating and knowing Me)” is what we are permitted to actually feel pride in. The Chofetz Chaim calls this “simchah shel mitzvah” – rejoicing in the mitzvah (of Emunah), and he specifically says that this is not gaavah, haughtiness. It is a mitzvah and of great importance to relate hashgachah pratis stories of our own. We have related in the past how the g’dolei ha’dor of the past (HaRav Moshe Feinstein and HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky) urged us, in an open letter to all of klal Yisrael, to strengthen our awareness of Hashem’s hashgachah pratis in our lives. They even advised keeping a notebook and writing down specific events we noticed. Writing will inspire us to be more observant of Hashem’s great and constant involvement in our lives, and will also allow us to share with others at a later time. This will help to strengthen our emunah and help others, as well. May we reach the levels of emunah that will bring the merit we need to bring Mashiach speedily in our days.
(This segment, as were many others, is based on the sefer Nafshi Cholas Ahavasecha.)
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