Jan 6, 2010

A Jew-Centric View of History and Current Events

The Baal Shem Tov explained that sometimes mighty things take place in the world even for one Jew.  There was once a bloody war between two nations which lasted seven years [perhaps the Seven Years’ War 1756-1763] and the Baal Shem Tov said that the war was orchestrated in Heaven so that a tzaddik would hear the sound of the trumpeting warring armies and learn from them to compose a niggun “to serve Hashem with this niggun!”

Is this not incredible? Upheavals take place in the world, a military infrastructure is built, armies battle, people are killed and wounded and any sensible person would understand this as happening because of political reasons, historical reasons, jealousy, imperialism, etc. Says the Baal Shem Tov – no! This war took place just so that one Jew could improve in an aspect of his avodas Hashem, a niggun in the service of Hashem.

The Rambam writes similarly in his introduction to his commentary on Mishnayos about a wealthy fool who commanded his servants to build a beautiful palace and to plant a magnificent vineyard as kings do. Perhaps this palace  was made ready so that one day, when a pious man would be passing by, he would find shade and rest in the shadow of the mighty walls and be saved from death (from the heat of the sun or from bandits). Or one day, a cup of wine will be taken from the vineyard and a medicine concocted out of it which will save the life of a fine person who was bitten by a snake.  This is how Hashem runs things, says the Rambam.

The Medrash (Yalkut Shimoni Yeshaya, perek 60, remez 499) says, “Rabbi Yitzchok said: The year that Melech Ha’Moshiach will be revealed, all the kings [leaders] of the nations will be struggling against each other… All the nations of the world will be trembling and shaking and falling on their faces… The Jewish people will be trembling and quaking and saying: ‘Where can we go? Where can we go?’ And [Hashem] will say to them: My children do not fear! Everything I did, I did only for you! Why are you frightened? Don’t be afraid - the time of your redemption has arrived! (The final Geula will be unlike the first Geula because the first Geula was followed by exiles while the final Geula will not be followed by any servitude to the nations).”

All the events taking place in the world are only for our sakes, for the Jewish people.

Is this how frum children are taught history and current events in school?

1 comment:

  1. Excellent question. I think I'll be asking about that one.