by Ari Abramowitz, Ari's Thoughts, April 21, 2010
A great Rabbi of the Old City made an observation about a major global "Act of G-D" that left me wondering how I could have been so blind not to have seen it myself.  Right after Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), half of Europe was comprehensively blanketed under clouds and layers of black ashes.  I saw this cataclysmic natural phenomena play out, but for some reason I didn't have the presence of mind to seek a deeper understanding or try to decipher what the divine message encoded in this event may be. 

It doesn't take a detective to see the historical irony in the same continent that either perpetrated, or was complicit, in turning six million Jews into ashes the Just over 60 years ago now finds themselves blanketed in this mysterious black ash. 

The volcano in Iceland erupted within a day of England's announcement that they were banning the image of "Kotel", or the Western Wall, in relation to Israel.  Despite the basic knowledge that the Western Wall is the holiest site to the Jewish people, the English embraced the fiction called Palestine and stated that Western Wall and half of Jerusalem belongs to this mysterious entity.  Rather than even address such ludicrous contention, it is merely worth noting that the rapidly escalating animus towards Israel and the Jewish People is not reserved to the English, but is rather rearing its ugly head throughout Europe, and to a large degree throughout the entire Western world.

Hence, this volcanic eruption was executed by the Almighty to send a clear and unequivocal message to Europe and the rest of the world that the sins of their past are not forgotten.  The sins of the fathers are not revisited upon the children unless the children continue in the fathers sinful ways.  And as anti-Semitic attacks in Europe have not reached today's levels since the Holocaust, and Jews have not been as isolated and vilified since those times either, the children are resembling their parents more and more every day.

When discussing the divine orchestration of world events and the intended message that they may be conveying, I have felt a significant and sharp discomfort, if not resentment, on behalf of many, Jews and non-Jews alike, throughout the world.  Case in point:  The Gaza disengagement.  Within hours of the illegal, unjust, and inhumane transfer of Jews from their homes in Gaza in order to unilaterally hand over the entire region to the same terrorists that had been murdering the residents for over 30 years, there was a deluge of historical proportions that wiped out the entire city of New Orleans.  The day after I personally witnessed the graves of tens of Jews buried in the Gaza cemetary exhumed to be reburied in Israel in order to prevent the desecration of their bodies by the gracious peace partners that we were gifting our homeland to - there was scarcely a newspaper or magazine which didn't have at least one picture of the overturned coffins in the saturated marshlands that just a few days before had been respectable cemeteries in New Orleans.  As 8,000 Jews were forced by the government out of their homes in Gaza creating cities of refugees, well over 80,000 New Orlean residents were forced out of their homes by their government into tents and stadiums as well.  The parallels continue, yet rather than accept these insightful and mysteriously similiar parallels with the shocked fascination which I expected, I felt waves of anger, discomfort, and resentment.  Who was I to know the reasons behind G-D's actions?  Was I a prophet that I could decipher the motives of the Creator? 

It didn't seem to matter that I never claimed to have any definitive knowledge of the reasons behind the flood, or any other world event that I have ever tried to make sense out of - the vitriol I encountered was almost reflexive.  I have spent many months revisiting this subject and seeking understanding as to why the response I recieved was so overwhelmingly negative.  Personally, I have always seen the world through a paradigm in which the events of our personal lives, as well global events affecting the entire world, are messages from G-D to communicate with us help guide us towards an enhanced understanding of how we can come close to Him and bring more goodness and divinity into the world.  While it would indeed be arrogant to ever claim that one knows G-D's reasoning, it would seem like irresponsible and neglectful not to even try.  For if the reason for the events of our world are to give us a platform to connect and come close to our Creator, and we seek this understanding with truth and humility, then the very ideals and understandings we are endowed with are gifted to us from above as well.  Hence while we can never know anything for sure, we are definitely supposed to try to understand for otherwise the messages may very well elevate in volume and intensity until we have no choice but to listen up.

The only reason I could surmise as to why I encountered this seemingly reflexive  repulsion to the concept of divine guidance and deciphering the reasons behind worldly events is because the message may be one that they don't want to hear.  Either their belief in G-D is not sincere or authentic, they don't understand that our G-D is interactive and perpetually involved in even the most minute details of our lives, or the message is simply too painful to bear.

Ultimately, however, we reap what we sow.  Whether the message is that it is time to leave our homes in the exile and return to The Land of Israel, to contend with various contradictions and falsehoods in Israel itself, or one of the myriads of other concepts that we need to grasp and to internalize - these truths will come into fruition, the only question is what side of the fence we will be on.  Will we be victims or heroes?  Will we be the protagonist or the antagonist?  As Mordechai said to Esther "Rescue and salvation will come to the Jewish people one way or the other, the question is whether it will be through you.

The reason I write this now is because we are in turbulent and erratically unpredictable times and there is no paradigm to refine and nurture than that of Emunah, or Faith.  Without the knowledge that there is a Creator above that is lovingly guiding us and protecting us, the events of our times may seem meaningless, terrifying, and render one feeling helpless and alone.  However, if we open our hearts to the knowledge that there is a G-D in the world and that coincidence is a fiction of the highest order we can emerge lucid, inspired, and empowered to merge our thoughts, desires, and actions with the Divine will.  We can transform our lives from ones laden with fear, doubt, and anxiety to lives of beautiful and harmonious dialogue with G-D.  The choice is ours.

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