The Person Behind The Posts

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

To Know God Is With You

We are reminded of the connection between Ruth & Boaz and Moshiach on Shavuot.
Last year, our first Shavuot in Israel, was the first time I didn't teach on leil Shavuot in many years. And I felt the difference. There is just no comparison between attending shiurim and preparing and delivering one.

We are grateful to live in a neighborhood in Israel where there are English shiurim offered on leil Shavuot, but, as in previous years, this year's schedules indicated that all the teachers, in three different locations, were men. Sometimes the same men, teaching the same material in multiple locations.

In that context, I thought to organize an evening of women's teaching and learning, so I contacted a few of the many talented English-speaking women teachers in our neighborhood. After some preliminary set-backs, I nearly abandoned the project until a neighbor asked if she could give it a whirl. Hashem blessed her efforts and, in a short time, she had four back-to-back classes, primarily by women for women.

Owing largely to the fact that I am a night owl by nature, I took the late night slot. Now if you've ever tried to stay up all night learning Torah, you know that the crowd thins as time goes on. By the time it was my turn, the clock said nearly 2 AM. Women who had attended the previous three shiurim dragged themselves out, begging forgiveness, claiming exhaustion.

It's a shame, because, had they stayed, I'm convinced they would have enjoyed a second or a third wind. From 2:00 to 3:00 in the morning in that room, something magical occurred.

My topic was, "Geulah b'rachamim" - the name of a book and a seminar based on the book that was developed by Rabbi Pinchas Winston.

That special time, late at night, when Jews have already been studying Torah for hours, was a perfect time to talk about elevated ideas related to geula - the ultimate redemption of the Jewish people and Moshiach - the human being who will lead us to redemption, just as Moshe led the Jewish people out of Egypt.

There is such power in the ideas of the Geulah b'rachamim seminar. That G-d is waiting for us. That He wants us to participate as partners in the redemption process. That we have a spiritual job to do in these precarious times. That we are the last generation of Jews before G-d redeems His people. That we have a choice about whether we will participate in bringing the redemption peacefully.

I didn't get to cover all my material, but I know from the unusually positive reaction of the women who attended, that what I was able to present was powerfully received. I felt, that night, that I was a kli, just a vessel, and Hashem was putting words in my mouth in order to touch the souls of my neighbors and friends who were kind enough to stay up with me.

Since coming to Israel, I have often felt the power of G-d's Hand guiding me much, much more strongly than I used to. And this is borne out by Rabbi Winston's teaching that, outside of Israel, Jewish people are subject to the same Hashgacha Klallit, general Divine supervision, as the rest of the people in the country which hosts them.

Ah, but in Israel, Jews benefit from Hashgacha Pratit, private, individualized Divine supervision.

I feel it.

To know G-d is with you. That is a very great privilege.


David Tzohar said...

Yasher kocheich for your shiur and your blog. I have never heard of R' Winston, but despite the color and cloth of his kippa his message seems to be very similar to torat Harav Kook ZTZL. Am I correct?

Batya said...

I can no longer function at night, so we host an afternoon shiur. I'm sure your shiur was really great.

Bat Aliyah said...


Regarding the connection between Rabbi Winston and Rav Kook, this is what Rabbi Winston says, "In some ways, certainly. He saw the return to the land as part of the process of geulah, and I agree."