Shabbat Parashat Vayeshev| 5764
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - The Divine Hand in History - From Perakim B’machshevet Yisrael, pg. 67)
[Chanuka is a holiday with two elements. It is the celebration of the victory of a group of brave Jewish soldiers against a superpower. It is also the celebration of dedication to religion and of Divine miracles. The two together make it worthwhile to visit the topic of Hashem’s Hand in history].
A survey of the general history of humanity and the Jewish people, specifically, brings one to the conclusion that the invisible Divine Hand guides history on the basis of reward and punishment, in accordance with the laws of Jewish morality.
Every nation which enters the stage of history seems to be directed by a desire to survive and dominate. It is true that over isolated periods of time it may be impossible to discern the workings of a Divine system to foil the plots of the wicked and to pay them back for their crimes. However, when one takes a broader look at history over time, one finds that a nation which rose to power and seemed destined to reign for an unlimited period of time, eventually disappeared from the stage. Indeed, one sees that there is a Judge in the world and that the conquerors eventually had to relinquish the lands and the riches which they accumulated (see Yeshaya 33:1).
It is true that we are unable to find the exact accounting for every individual and every individual action. Hashem desired that His Hand would be hidden so that one who wanted to ignore it, could do so. However, the objective observer will be able to extrapolate from the general to the specific and realize that that which he does not understand everything is because of his shortcomings. Only Moshe Rabbeinu was able to understand history in an exact way, but we see enough to conclude that evil is allowed to flourish, only to be cut down eternally (Tehillim 92:13) and that a thousand years in our eyes is like a day in Hashem’s (Tehillim 90:4).
Hashem’s Hand, as seen in general world history, is strengthened by that which is seen in regard to the Jewish nation. The wonder of our survival in exile, without a land or a kingdom, surrounded by hostile nations, who throughout history have tried to destroy us but have never succeeded, is humanly incomprehensible. This serves as another reminder of the spiritual element of history and the fact that there is a Divine Protector of the existence of the Jewish nation.
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