Rabbi Berzansky - Parshat Bo
My wife and I lived in Zichron Yaakov (a small town just south of Haifa) for the first year and a half of our marriage, after which we moved to Yerushalayim. Moving to Yerushalayim was like moving into the big leagues. Aside from the hustle and bustle of the city, our rent was going to jump from two hundred dollars a month, which we barely managed, to six hundred a month. In addition, our future landlord wanted six months rent upfront! How in the world were we going to come up with three thousand and six hundred dollars with a Kollel stipend of two hundred and fifty dollars a month?
We decided to borrow the money from a gemach and pay it back in installments. As I walked down the stairs of our apartment to the gemach, a Federal Express truck pulled into our small street looking for me. The deliveryman handed me an envelope with a check totaling three thousand, six hundred and seventy-five dollars! It was just enough money to cover the six months rent and the check-cashing fees. Now that was hashgachah pratis.
In truth, hashgachah pratis goes far beyond the daily “mini-miracles” that we encounter. It is one of the most fundamental components in our emunah, and it is the basis of the entire Torah!Hashgachah pratis means that there is no such thing as coincidence or happenstance. Everything that happens, even events that appear as bad, are intrinsically good and only happen because Hashem wants them to happen. Moreover, it means that Hashem is guiding and directing the entire universe for our benefit. This became apparent to the world during the Eser Makkos. Already by makkas Dam, Hashem was saving the Jews and not the Mitzrim. All the Eser Makkos and Yetzias Mitzrayim have become our binyan av (prototype) for this timeless lesson. R. Yechezkel Levenstein writes that people who live with hashgachah pratis live a life of peace and tranquility. They understand that all their experiences and events have all been tailor-made by Hashem. By standing firm in their beliefs, they find comfort and even joy during the grimmest of situations. However, to live with hashgachah pratis is not an easy task and takes a lifetime of toil to internalize. Aside from drawing encouragement from these parshios, my wife and I have acquired for ourselves a three thousand, six hundred and seventy-five dollar miracle as our binyan av that constantly reminds us that Hashem is with us every single step of the way. I am sure that you too have your own personal “mini-miracles” to give you direction and light along your way to a life filled with hashgachah pratis.