Often we are told that various experiences in our lives are Hashgacha Protis, divine providence . . .
Stories are told of the man who stayed in shul an extra few minutes to say slichos with a minyan and thus came late to work -only to find out that had he been sitting in his cubicle in the World Trade Center, he would have lost his life in the terrorist attack on that fateful morning in September.
Then there is one of the person who missed his flight, only to later hear that it crashed . . .
These stories show the hand of G-d at work in the world. They wake us up, they inspire and teach . . . but they are far from the ultimate revelation.
Nature - the mundane - is the true hashgacha protis. The unending grind of life with its ins and outs, the undulating current of the sea as it sends the water crashing to the shore -only to pull it back once more to its source, the jet stream of the winds as they pass through the endlessly bleak deserts, jagged cliffs and vibrant forests, the crawling of the ant as it pushes a grain of sand up a hill, the path of flight that a single leaf takes as it floats down from its former abode on high in a tree to its new one on the forest flore . . . All of these are hashgacha Protis.
Life is the greatest revelation of G-dliness -the miracles that we do not see are the ones that reveal the true essence of the Creator.
When we see an open miracle we see G-d breaking the matrix of reality to express Himself. There is G-d, and there is the world. G-d controls the world.
When we don't see, we are shown how reality itself is not a contradiction to the expression of G-dliness, ipso facto -the world is the greatest articulation of G-dliness . . .
If every facet of our lives is G-d's will manifest, how then are we affected by it?
We are guided by our inborn natural talents and abilities, our flaws and challenges. We are endowed with a G-dly soul -a veritable part of the Creator, and tested by the base desires of the animal soul. We are forged in the crucible of life -the various experiences of the vicissitudes of this world.
To what degree are we made by these factors, and to what degree do we make use of them?
An example: children of divorce.
There is no denying that such an event can leave an indelible mark on one's life -but how so?
There are those who would (incorrectly) say that a person who experiences such an event must be negatively effected . . . How could he not?
There must be something lacking in his social skills, his understanding of how a healthy family unit should function and the like. I am sure that there are those that may suffer from the adverse effects of negative past experiences.
Every experience does indeed contribute to the tapestry of our lives -but they need not do so directly . . . Two people may witness the same event, but step away with very different experiences. What breaks one person, builds the other.
A king once had a prized jewel, an exquisite diamond - perfection glinted from every luminous facet as he held it to the light. This gem, he felt, would be the crown jewel in his magnificent diadem.In other words: my life is not effected by my surrounding, rather my surroundings effect my life. Though this may sound like mere semantics the point is clear:
One morning the king woke and, upon taking out his precious treasure, found much to his dismay that there was a single thin crack descending down its face.
The greatest jewelers were called to look at the stone in the hopes of fixing it, but nothing could be done -the crack ran so deeply down the face of diamond that any effort to remove it would ruin it.
Finally one jeweler, a simple man from one of the neighboring villages, stepped forward. He would save the diamond.
The king laughed, the greatest craftsmen in the world had seen the gem, and deemed it hopeless -how could this simple jeweler hope to do anything?
Seeing, though, that there was nothing to loose, the king informed the jeweler that he could spend a single night with the diamond. If he managed to fix it, then he would see great reward. If, however, he did not succeed . . .
Locked in his room, the jeweler took a long look at the stone. It was truly magnificent, sparkling like the fire of the sun on the surface of the water. As well though, the crack, however thin, could not be removed without destroying the precious crown jewel in the proccess. What could be done?
The next morning the jeweler came out with the the stone in hand - a look of triumph on his face.
When he produced the gemstone, the entire royal court - the queen, the ministers, even the jester - went into an uproar; the scratch had not been removed -it stood in its place. The jeweler had instead etched a rose, the symbol of the kingdom, on the face of the diamond, turning the crack into the stem.
The king stood up from his place and embraced the simple jeweler.
"Now I truly have my crown jewel!" he said. "Until now the diamond was magnificent, the best I had ever seen. It was, however, no different from any other stone. Now, though, I have a truly unique treasure!"
If something comes from G-d - who is the essence of good - and if it is a revelation of G-dliness in the deepest form . . . then why should we assume the effect it had as a cog in the sum total of the machine of life was anything but for the good?
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