All too often, Jewish Clergy, including yours truly, falls prey to a theology which opens a Pandora’s Box. All too often, Jewish clergy, including yours truly, sees the hand of HaShem playing a role in our history:
In the Spring of 1945, F.D.R. assuaged the concerns of King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia (…we state frankly and plainly that to help Zionism in Palestine not only means to endanger Palestine, but all neighboring countries) by reminding the Moslem Monarch “that Your majesty will doubtless recall that on previous occasions, I communicated to you that I would take no action in my capacity as chief of the executive branch of this government which might prove hostile to the Arab people.” F.D.R. died exactly one week after issuing his communique.
In late 1952-early 1953, as group of prominent Moscow doctors (the vast majority were Jews)
was accused of conspiring to assassinate Soviet leaders. Ultimately, hundreds of doctors were arrested and thanks to Soviet “persuasion techniques” ultimately confessed their crimes. By the beginning of March 1953, Stalin was felled by a major stroke. Due to the scarcity of doctors, there was no specialist to treat him.
Less than two decades ago, just as W.J. Clinton was about to pressure Israel to concede a vast amount of territory, so that he could go down in history as brokering peace between Israel and her neighbors, the Monica Lewinsky affair splashed all over the news, thereby diverting the president’s attention away from Israel.
Short of relegating it to miracle status, seeing the hand of HaShem in our history is not healthy for children and other living creatures for the following reasons:
It refutes the concept of B’Chirah Chofsheet or freedom of choice, which has been the modus operandi, ever since Adam and Eve were planted in the Garden of Eden. If Hashem plays an active role in history, then at best, mankind is reduced to playing a passive role in history. If the courage and sacrifice on the part of Israeli soldiers during these last 67 years is seen as playing a passive role in history, then there is something terribly wrong with my view, as well as the view of so many others, as far as Israel and its world renowned army.
It questions HaShem’s omnipotence. It challenges HaShem’s unique relationship with His people. Either as Jews, we look to our own inadequacies and turn to HaShem asking: What have we ever done to You, that You should let us be treated so inhumanely? Alternately, at the risk of being struck down by a bolt of lightning, we look to HaShem’s lack of intervention and remind Hashem that He has a reputation (both Abraham and Moses were successful in employing such a technique) to uphold and cajole HaShem with “given Your track record as Shomer Yisroel or Guardian of Israel)” do it for us one more time!
It makes us look ridiculous. If we see the hand of HaShem playing a role in our history, then it follows that when HaShem does not intercede, we just might become blasphemous and irreverent. So much so, that we are tempted to suspect HaShem of passively watching with farleigteh hent or folded arms,as the most difficult timesunfoldin our people’s past. Holocaust aside, what role did HaShem’s hand play during the crusades, the Inquisition, the expulsions, the Pogroms….?
Ein Somchin al haNess! It is with good reason that the Talmud warns us not to rely on miracles, lest we become miracle junkies. But then again … the hand of HaShem is such a beautiful miracle to behold.