Certainty and Actuality

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By Rabbi Naftoly Bier

In the beginning of פ‘ וארא (ו‘:ג‘) , we are taught one of the essential fundamentals of Hashem’s world.

“And I (Hashem) appears to the Patriarchs as קל שקי, but My name which implies my Essential Truth, I didn’t reveal (Myself).”

Rashi explains the first name is a manifestation of Hashem’s ability to “promise” that in the future something will transpire – “a trait of certainty” – but to you, Moshe Rabeinu, I am appearing with the name “יקוק ”, which denotes “actuality”.

HaRav Yeruchim Levovitz זצ“ל expounds on this Rashi in the following manner. Contrary to one’s perception that despite one’s categorical dedication to an idea, it won’t necessarily be actualized; in the world of Hashem, certainty of one’s determination will invariably become reality.

The אבות , patriarchs, even before the promises of Hashem were realized, unequivocally accepted it as factual. They understood that all of the world’s history is a process in which Hashem’s plan is instituted, it is the “seed” of the eventual “tree”, that has to happen! The potential is not only a hope, but rather a factual reality which needs but time to be actualized.

Every seed, if properly grown, will emerge in stages. First they will be a trunk, wood… then leaves, then some fruit; by the time of the fifth year it will be a complete verdant tree. Contained in the small seed is the absolute reality of producing something infinitely larger than itself. But it will only happen if dealt with properly. On the other hand, if one is careless with the tree that the seed produced, the whole tree, even the “wood” will rot away. Everything is a consequence of the seeds’ DNA. The true definition of the tree is “an object that is the actualized potential of the seed.”

The אבות understood that all happenings in our world are but a manifestation of אין עוד מלבדו , “There is nothing except Hashem.” We say everyday ,ברוך אומר ועושה “Blessed is the One who says and He does.” What is the meaning? Does Hashem need two stages, “to talk” and then “to do”?

When Hashem “proclaims”, when He expresses His will, the “seed is planted”; it will eventually at its proper time germinate into its objective. In reality it’s one idea, for in Hashem’s universe the progression of all of the developments are already decided; it is instituted in the world as a seed; as factuality that will at a designated time become an actuality. The coming of Mashiach will not be a “new dynamic”, or a climax of history, but the appearance of what was put into motion at the time of creation.

This is the idea of expressing a vow, נדר . Why is there an idea of vows; if one plans, for example to fast, just do it! When one articulates a vow, one is in effect creating an idea that is factual now; it needs just to become a reality at its designated time! Even more so without the קבלה , the fast is not considered of any value. Action needs prior “certainty”!

Just as a seed contains the future of a beautiful, large, verdant, and luscious tree, so too, every human is empowered with a specific, expansive potential; one can’t add or detract from it. While this all sounds very philosophical,it is pertinent to everyday life!

The Talmud, Tractate Berachos 32b, states “ ת“ר ארבעה צריכין חיזוק …” The rabbis taught that four realms need constant reinforcement; Torah study, prayer, the will to extend kindnes, and success in one’s chosen profession. Very often, too often, one finds it difficult to understand a complex discussion or idea in the Talmud, or to have an opportunity to do chesed. The Torah states: ,רק חזק ואמץ “Stick to your guns”; if one with sincere acuity believes all that transpires is due to Hashem’s will, then it is logical that the seed for success is implanted and ingrained in every person. The question is not if one will succeed but rather when, for potential must become a reality in Hashem’s world. If one doesn’t lose focus, if one doesn’t “give up”, if Hashem has willed that one succeeds, invariably one will; the question is when! Says the Torah, persevere in your quest for Torah knowledge and to do chesed.

The same applies to תפילה , prayer and lastly to one’s profession. If one chooses to be a carpenter and at first doesn’t succeed, don’t change professions, for if one sincerely understands that Hashem will facilitate one’s success, it has to happen. (Of course, one’s negative behavior could create negative consequences.)

The חובות הלבבות relates a story of a G-d-fearing person who travelled to a distant country to engage in business. He met an idol worshiper and engaged in discussion regarding the foolishness of idolatry. The non-Jew asked him; if you truly believe that G-d is in charge of the world, then why did you embark on a long journey; G-d can provide for you in your hometown! If He provides, He can help you at home! Realizing that his belief in G-d was theoretical; he returned home, to indoctrinate himself with a true appreciation of Hashem’s connection to all; He being the One that facilitates success due to the potential ingrained in everyone.

The essential law of Hashem’s world is that all true actions, mitzvahs, are but an extension of one’s resolute, single-minded pursuance of the stated goal. In turn, this is the true segue to success!

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