"Monday Monday, So Good to Me,"
6:20 PM - Just got home a few minutes ago, ate dinner. Been awake for 12 hours and my neck (with the help of the good people at Advil) has started to feel much better than it felt this morning. (I've never been grateful for my neck, never paid it much mind, until it hurt. Noe I'm grateful for all the quiet and diligent service it's given me all these years.
Taught my classes, had a guidance meeting, met with five kids. As G-d said to the angels after he told them he created a sphere that will rotate around the sun and enjoy light half the time and darkness the other half, when they asked Him what he'd do next, "I think I'll call it a day.
But I can't. Miles to go before I sleep. Miles to go before I sleep.
11:29 PM - I just thought of this idea and am thinking of publishing it in my school's Dvar Torah weekly. I'd appreciate feedback.
A lot of ideas that we consider basics of Jewish philosophy come from the Ramban on Chumash. One example of this was in last weeks parsha: Ma'asseh Avot siman lebanim. Another one is in this week's parsha - the idea that G-d does miracles in a way that is as close to nature as possible. This is why even though the only way the ark could only hold all the animals in was it via a miracle, G-d had Noach build a big ark (though He could have done a bigger miracle by fitting all the animals in an even smaller vessel and not bothered Noach to make a big boat).
I wonder, though, why is it such a fundamental fact that G-d does miracles within nature? Maybe it's so that we remember that even though large miracles happen we need to stay close to and live in the natural world. This relates to the Ramban's assertion, in Parshat Bo, that the point of big miracles that happen rarely is to remind us how miraculous natural events are. Also relevant here is the concept of ein somchin al haneis - one should not rely on a miracle. By doing a miracle in a way that resembles the natural order of things, G-d is reminding us to live in the natural world we inhabit and not sit and wait for supernatural miracles.
This relates to hakarat hatov - the concept often misunderstood to mean saying thank you but which really means seeing the good. G-d stays close to nature when he does miracles to remind us to pay attention to the daily miracles we dismiss as natural.
This also relates to the idea of hishtadlus and bitachon. By doing a miracle as close to nature as possible G-d reminds us that we must make efforts that make sense in the natural world and then we can trust that miracles will come from above.
The mishnah that states that the world stands on 3 things - Torah, Avodah, and Gemilut Chasadim. The mishnah includes not only the fact that this saying came from Rabbi Shimon HaTzadik but also that he outlived Anshei Knesset HaGedolah. Rabbi Wolfson suggests that this seemingly extraneous information is directly connected to Rabbi Shimons's statement. He outlasted the great era of The Men of the Great Aseembly and lived on to see less glorious times. He was saying that even though that golden era was gone what was important was on a day in and day out basis to adhere to Torah, prayer, and kindness. That's what keeps the world going. On a similar note after the chagim, as we complete a full week of school and begin a stretch of such weeks, as we go through the six months till Pesach we need to focus on the holiness of daily life.
May we be so blessed.