In the last two segments, we discussed the difference between our emunah and that of the nations of the world who believe in G-d. We believe that Hashem is not just exalted above, higher than all, but rather that He has designed our lives precisely in every detail and is intimately involved in every aspect continuously. Our belief in hashgachah pratis is what sets us apart from the rest of the world and is the component of emunah that the Rosh calls the “y’sod (foundation) of the entire Torah.”
How can we train ourselves and our children to be more aware of Hashem’s continuous involvement in our lives? In 1984, HaRav Moshe Feinstein and HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky wrote a joint open letter to all the Jewish people. The following is an excerpt (the original was in Hebrew):
Every understanding heart understands how great the urgency is, in these times, to embed the emunah of hashgachah pratis (Divine Providence) in the hearts of each and every one, and especially the younger ones, because it is the “stake” that everything hangs on… It is a good practice to strengthen this emunah by writing down the Divine Providence we see in our own lives daily.”
I know of someone who made this a family project for their grandchildren, with monetary rewards. They bought journals or diaries for those who preferred to write; but what seems to work better for younger children, and many times even for older ones, is a simple digital recorder (under $20 on Amazon). Even children aged seven and eight were excited to embark on the program and are daily becoming more aware of Hashem in their lives.
I know of others who routinely share their daily or weekly stories with their families. Every situation is different, and we must think about what would work within our own inner circles or even for ourselves.
It’s nice to read and listen to other people’s stories through the many books and shiurim that are available. There is even a phone line, which anyone can call into, that is dedicated to sharing hashgachah pratis stories.
However, other people’s amazing stories will not make even a fraction of the lasting impact that awareness of our own “small” day-to-day observances will make. It is exciting and invigorating to see Hashem in our lives every day. The more we seek, the more we will be shown.
Hashem shomrecha; Hashem tzilcha al yad y’minecha.
Hashem is your Guardian; Hashem is your protective Shade at your right hand. [T’hilim 121:5]
Hashem is like a shadow. He responds to our initiative. The more we seek His Presence in our lives, the more He shows us. If we put up one finger, we see one finger in our shadow. If we put up five, we see five.
HaRav Avigdor Miller would point out that while affixing a mezuzah is a great mitzvah, how many mezuzos can we affix? Emunah is a constant mitzvah. Every second we spend on seeking, recording, journaling is a mitzvah of the highest caliber.
Many put great effort into buying a beautiful esrog, spending many hours to find the perfect esrog. That is a beautiful “hiddur mitzvah” – a beautification of the mitzvah. Shouldn’t we, all the more so, put much greater effort into the foundation of the entire Torah, the stake that everything hangs on?
To access print versions of previous Tefilah segments, please visit OU Torah’s Search portal, select the Topic of “Tefillah,” and then select “Weekly Tefilah Focus” from the Series list.
For Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman’s video and audio shiurim, which are based on our Tefilah Focus segments but also include his insightful and inspiring additions, please visit TorahAnytime.com or simply search for “TorahAnytime Rabbi Finkelman.”
You can direct any questions or comments to Eliezer Szrolovits at 917-551-0150.