Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Go and Learn" - The Hidden Miracles

צא ולמד מה בקש לבן הארמי לעשות ליעקב אבינו. שפרעה לא גזר אלא על הזכרים, ולבן בקש לעקור את הכל
"Go and learn what Laban the Aramean sought to do to our father, Jacob. For Pharaoh only decreed [the annihilation] of the males, but Laban sought to uproot everything."

The Hagada tells us that Lavan wanted to totally destroy Jacob and his family. Yet, a simple reading of the text in Genesis gives no real indication of this. Laban did not appear to want to harm Jacob and, if the Sages had not told us so, we would never have known on our own.

The Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Elijah of Vilna, d.1797) explains that this teaches us that God is always acting to save us from dangers, even though, most of the time we are completely unaware of these miracles. As the Talmud states (נדה לא.), אפילו בעל הנס אינו מכיר בנסו – “even the one who experiences the miracle does not perceive the miracle.” Hashem does constant miracles for us in a hidden manner. This is the meaning of the verse in Psalms (72:18), “עושה נפלאות לבדו” – “He does wonders alone.” “Alone” meaning, He alone knows about the miracle, but those who benefit from the miracle don’t even know that a miracle has occurred. Therefore, even when life seems to be going along in a perfectly normal and natural manner, we must give thanks to God for the many hidden miracles He is performing for us.
(פירוש הגר"א)

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