Pidyon Kaparot Now

Divinely Directed

image.gifRabbi Yehoshua Alt

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

Listen to the short Fascinating Insights podcast at https://jewishpodcasts.fm/fascinating-insights, where it can also be downloaded!

Divinely Directed

Amalek believes that all is coincidence.[1] If we think this way, then we erase Hashem’s name, as it says in this week’s parsha, ומחה ה’ את שמו מתחת השמים.[2] We must fulfill תמחה את זכר עמלק מתחת השמים[3] by eradicating this philosophy of theirs.

 

In 1982, David, a secular Jew that was once religious, who was a Holocaust survivor, was asked by a man named Yaakov to complete a minyan. David adamantly refused, explaining that he wasn’t granted his one request he expressed to Hashem which was that he should have a son remain alive so that he will live on. Months later, on Yom Kippur, when Yaakov was walking to shul for Yizkor he noticed David in a park eating a sandwich. He approached David informing him it was Yom Kippur and asked him if he would like to join him to shul for Yizkor for his son. After his initial refusal, David agreed since he was doing it for his son whom he so desperately wanted to survive the Holocaust. When they arrived in shul, Yaakov walked with him to the front of the shul to give the name of David’s son, Moshe ben Dovid, to the chazzan, who was himself saying Yizkor for his father. When the chazzan heard the name, he asked David for the last name. When David replied, “Shechter,” the chazzan nearly fainted. He exclaimed, “I am Moshe and you are my father!” The joy felt at Yizkor on that Yom Kippur was indescribable!

 

All that happens is השגחה פרטית, Divine Providence and as it says מה’ מצעדי גבר כוננו, by Hashem are a man’s footsteps established.[4] There is no such thing as coincidence.[5] In fact, if we rearrange the letters of מקרה, coincidence,[6] we get רק מה’, only from Hashem, meaning that which seems like an accident is in essence Divine Providence.[7] Indeed, מקרה can be translated as prepare as in והקריתם לכם,[8] since every situation is prepared by Hashem. They say it is the Jews that run everything in the world. They are almost correct. It’s Hashem, the G-d of the Jews, that runs everything in the world.

 

R’ Mordechai Pogromonsky (1903-1949) once rode a train with a fellow Jew to get to another town for Shabbos. As it turned out they missed their stop. When his counterpart began to complain, R’ Pogromonsky responded that a Jew is never lost. They arrived at a town but to their dismay, there were no shuls there. However, they were directed to a Jew that lived in the town who agreed to host them. The host’s wife had given birth to a boy seven days before.  He shared his frustration with his guests about the Mohel he had ordered but soon canceled.[9] It turned out that the Jew accompanying R’ Pogromonsky was a Mohel who had the instruments for Mila on him. He performed the Bris on the eighth day![10]



[1] As it says regarding themאשר קרך בדרך , by chance (Devarim 25:18).

[2] Devarim 29:19.

[3] Devarim 25:19.

[4] Tehillim 37:23. And as we say in Birchas Hashacharהמכין מצעדי גבר, who prepares the footsteps of man.

[5] Indeed, it has been said that the word coincidence in English can be broken up into Kah (Hashem, as in יה) inside, meaning Hashem is inside everything.

[6] R’ Yeruchem Levovitz would say that nature is the name given to miracles that happen frequently.

[7] Someone once remarked: “We all are tourists and Hashem is our travel agent who already fixed all our routes, reservations and destinations. So, trust Him and enjoy the trip called LIFE…”

[8] Bamidbar 35:11, Rashi. Additionally, Targum Unkolos renders הקרה as זמין, prepare (Breishis 27:20).

[9] R’ Efraim Laniado, who was the Chief Rabbi of Aleppo, Syria in the late 18th century, writes (Degel Machane Efraim, Yoreh Deah, 2) about a man whose son was born during a time when he was quarantined out of fear of a plague which raged through the city. The father refused to invite a mohel to circumcise his son. R’ Laniado writes that this was acceptable, as the father was scared to open the door to his home due to the danger lurking outside. A similar ruling was issued by R’ Moshe Hakohen (in his sefer Pnei Moshe, Yoreh Deah 263) of Djerba, Tunisia where he speaks of an epidemic that caused the community to remain in their homes. R’ Moshe Hakohen ruled that it was permitted to delay the bris for the boys born during this period, given the danger entailed. Among what he writes is that just as the Jewish People didn’t perform bris mila throughout the forty years of desert travel due to the harsh conditions which made the procedure dangerous, it is similarly legitimate to delay circumcision during the time of an epidemic when people quarantine themselves out of fear of infection.

[10] Interestingly, whenever there was a Bris in the Kehila of the Chassam Sofer in Pressburg where he was a Mohel at, he made sure they daven Shacharis five minutes earlier than usual in order to fulfill זריזין מקדימין למצות (Pesachim 4a).

Author of the books Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights

 
Listen to the short Fascinating Insights Podcast at https://jewishpodcasts.fm/fascinating-insights

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