Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Return

"Hashem said to Moses, 'Come to Pharaoh, for I have made his heart and the heart of his servants stubborn so that I can put these signs of Mine in his midst; and so that you may relate in the ears of your son and your son's son that I made a mockery of Egypt and My signs that I placed among them - that you may know that I am Hashem,'" Exodus 10:1,2.

In our sophisticated world of daily expanding knowledge, sometimes we forget the simple basics and truths of life. The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt was a seminal event in world history. Besides the obvious of the Jews escape from slavery and the beginnings of their nationhood, the Exodus was a message to the world. The Exodus was a reminder that their is One and only One Being in control of everything, including nature. And that Being is who Moses and Aaron told Pharoah they were coming in behalf of - the God of the Jews.

Perhaps in 2012 we need a fresh perspective. A reminder that the God of the Universe, Who controls everything, is controlling world events with one main goal in mind. Psalms 105 reminds us of what that goal is. After giving a synopsis of all the events Hashem orchestrated through Joseph and Moses, He reminds us that He did everything so that He could give the Jews the Land of Israel where "they will safeguard and observe His teachings."

A theme runs throughout the Torah and the Prophets; a return. Hashem states repeatedly that the Jews will return to Him via returning to the Land of Israel and returning to the Torah. This return is literally what the world still revolves around.

Hashem is orchestrating every world event around His desire and "end game," so to speak, of the return of His people to Israel and to the Torah. When is the last time you viewed the world this way? Every world leader is in place to prod His people to return. Every weather pattern is in place to prod His people to return. Every economic upswing or downturn is in place to cause His people to return. Every election result is to cause His people to return. Everything is funneling His people to Him. And every person is their own Pharoah. Every person has a choice to aid and abet the return, or to resist and inhibit the return.

Everything is predestined, except for the fear of heaven (Tractate Berachos in the Gemara). Yes, every person has a free will. But the Great Mind of the Universe orchestrates every choice every person makes within His plans. He is the only reality. We live, and move, and have our being within the "confines" of Him. We exist in Him. We have no control, power, or existence outside of Him. We live in the illusion that we do. And those who believe that the illusion is reality literally are living a grand illusion.

World leaders who believe they are controlling the destiny of nations are living within the grand illusion. Business men who believe their decisions control the economy are living within the grand illusion. Groups or individuals who believe they can destroy the nation of Israel are living within the grand illusion. Even when you or I, God forbid, forget for a moment Who the world exists within, then we are living within the grand illusion.

Aaron and Moses had a clear message in Exodus 10 - even the most powerful leader and nation on earth was but a pawn in Hashem's hand. Hashem made a mockery of and brought down a kingdom so that the Jews could have a story to tell their children and grandchildren. And that story is "Psst, remember. Remember that everything I do is so that you will know that I am your God. And one day when your children forget that I am their God, the stage will be set for a return to Me."

If you are a Jew living outside of Israel and outside of the pages of Torah, the question is, "When will you return?" And as a non-Jew, the question is, "Are you aiding and abetting the return, or God forbid living as Pharaoh and trying to inhibit the return."

"He took us out of Egypt in order to bring us, to give us the Land that He swore to our forefathers. And He commanded us to perform all His decrees, to fear Hashem, our God, for the good, all the days, to give us life," Deuteronomy 6:23,24.

"And they will return from the enemy's land. There is hope for your future, the word of Hashem, and your children will return to their border," Jeremiah 31:15,16.

"Remember this and take it to heart, O evildoers: recall the early events of ancient times, see that I am God and there is no other, I am God and there is none like Me. From the beginning I foretell the outcome; and from earlier times, what has not yet been; but I say and My plan will stand, and I will carry out My every desire," Isaiah 46:8-10.

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