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"Mother Nature's Son?"

03/20/2019 09:52:04 AM


Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham, CDR, CHC, USN (ret)

We will read the following in this week's parashah, Parashat Tzav: "The fire on the Mizbe'ach (Altar) should be kept burning, it shall not be extinguished; and the Kohen shall kindle the wood upon it every morning; he shall prepare the Olah (Elevation-Offering) upon it and shall cause the fats of the Sh'lamim (Pease-Offerings) to go up in smoke upon it." (VaYikra 6:5)  There were three stacks of wood piled on the Mizbe'ach, one them being the maarachah gedolah (the large pile of wood upon which the offerings were burned).  The Kohanim were commanded to add two pieces of wood to this pile twice each day.  The Talmud tells us that fire from Shamayim (Heaven) miraculously rested upon the Mizbe'ach.  With this in mind, the question must be asked: "What was the purpose of the Kohanim adding the wood and keeping the flame alive?  Would not the miracle of the fire from Shamayim suffice?"

We live in a world that seems to be lacking of anything miraculous.  The world seems to "run on its own" as if guided by "Mother Nature."  While it is the daily job of every Jew to seek out our Creator discovering that He is involved in every detail of this world, HaShem's involvement in this world appears to be hidden from our view.  In fact, if HaShem would be openly involved in worldly affairs, we would be denied the opportunity to search for and discover H'm.  And that would reduce our role as Jews in this world as we would become like everyone else attributing what happens in this world to "Mother Nature."  Our tradition teaches us that when HaShem does perform miracles in this world, He camouflages them within the realm of nature giving room for us to ask: "Is it Hashem, or is it nature?"  That is why the Kohanim were commanded, in effect, to "hide" Hashem's open miracle of the fire from Shamayim resting upon the Mizbe'ach by "creating" their own fire.

Our lives are filled with many miracles each and every day.  Unfortunately, we barely take notice of them, because we attribute their occurrences to "Mother Nature."  It is our job as Jews to look deeper into and notice HaShem's direct involvement in our lives so that we may proclaim H's love and majesty to the rest of the world.  Shabbat Shalom!

Sun, September 15 2019 15 Elul 5779