Chai Elul 5767
Birth of the Baal Shem Tov
Day that the Besht revealed himself
Birth of Shneur Zalman of Laidi, The Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch
Day that Menachem Mendel shlita, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, compiled HaYom Yom
20 or so years ago I was driving somewhere and listening to a cassette of The Basic Principles of Chabad Chassidus, by Rabbi Shloma Majeski. He was discussing Hashchocha Protes, or G-dly direction in our lives, when he illuminated the point by mentioning that the Baal Shem Tov was able to see G-ds hand directing a leaf blowing in the wind.
Just then, as I was driving and thinking about that incredible image, a leaf blew right across the windshield of my car!
And I thought WOW! If the Bescht were driving right now, he would have been able to see Hashem directing that leaf. So I leaned forward to see better, looking for the hand of Hashem.
Since then, I try to see Hashem's hand in all that happens to me and those around me and to view life as directed down to the smallest detail by the Abishter.
But I had questions: Hashem doesn't have hands like we know them: the use of the word hand is only metaphorical, to allow us to begin to visualize and comprehend Hashem who is totally incomprehensible to us (see Tanya). Yet the statement that the Baal Shem was able to see the hand of G-d also has to be taken at P'shat face value. He WAS able to see the hand of G-d. But how?
We learn that in the time of Moshiach, (not immediately, but during one of the phases of the process) we will be able to see G-dliness in everything around us: in a blade of grass, a pebble, a piece of paper. We will be able to see the G-dly spark in
Imagine an infinite zoom microscope that is focused on a rock. You first hold the rock in your hand, it looks smooth and round. In the macro all you see is a smooth stone. When you place it in the microscope, as you increase the magnification you begin to see a cratered, pitted surface made up of striated bands of color. As the magnification increase and we delve into the microscopic depths of the rock we are opened up to worlds within worlds until we get to the nuclear level where the rock no longer exists, all we see are swirling protons and electrons.
Now take this imagery to the spiritual plane.
If we look at a finite macroscopic object, we can see the G-dly spark that illuminates the stone and therefore it exists. But each level of spiritual magnification reveals yet again G-dly sparks, but of a different nature down to the nuclear level which again shows G-dly sparks as to that level.
But EVERYTHING contains G-dly sparks, including the air we breathe and which surrounds us.
If we place a molecule of 'air' into our infinite zoom microscope construct, at some level, that molecule of air will be indistinguishable from the previous molecule of rock. Not only that, but the dividing lines between what is rock and what is air will also be indistinguishable both physically and spiritually.
And this is how I believe we can begin to understand the P'shat of the statement that the Baal Shem Tov was able to see G-ds hand in a leaf blowing in the wind.
The leaf and the wind, on the most fundemental of spiritual (and physical) levels, are
Bentzion Ziskind Meltzer
Chai Elul 5767