Pesach

On Pesach we recount and relive the Exodus from Egypt. As we examine the events of the Exodus, we see in action how Hashem runs the world. Most prominently, we see Hashem intervening through open miracles, such as the ten plagues and the splitting of the Sea of Reeds. But we also see Hashem shrewdly guiding events from behind the scenes. In Sefer HaMiddos, Shaar HaBitachon, chapter 8, the Maggid discusses this second mode of operation.
In Shemos Rabbah 26:2, the Midrash describes Hashem saying: “The way I work is not the way a mortal man works. A mortal man smites with a knife and heals with a dressing. But with Me, through the same means through which I smite, I heal.” The Maggid expresses this principle through the following saying: “Through the blow itself He prepares the dressing.” (The Maggid indicates that this saying is of Rabbinic origin. I was unable to find this exact wording in Rabbinic sources, but I did find it in many other sources, including the first selichah for the first Monday of BaHaB.) The Maggid notes that we do not say that “through the blow itself He creates the cure,” but rather “through the wound itself He prepares the cure.” The Hebrew term used for prepare is מתקן, which means “fix” or “adjust.” The idea here, the Maggid says, is that Hashem adjusts ostensibly negative events so that they lead to a positive outcome.
For example, the Egyptians decreed that baby boys be cast into the Nile, so that the one who was destined to serve as Hashem’s agent in saving the Jewish People would drown. Hashem did not stop this decree from being carried out, but instead He redirected its consequences. Because of the decree, when Moshe was born his mother put him in a wicker basket and placed him into the Nile, which in turn led to Pharaoh’s daughter finding Moshe, adopting him, and raising him in the Egyptian royal palace, so that Moshe received an upbringing that prepared him for leadership. Similarly, shortly after setting the Jews free, the Egyptians had a change of heart and chased after them. Initially this seemed to be a bad turn of events for the Jews, but in the end it led to the Egyptians drowning in the Sea of Reeds.
The Maggid brings out the point with a parable. I think this parable illustrates not only  Hashem’s power to guide events behind the scenes as He wishes, but also His power to openly overturn the ordinary laws of nature as He sees fit. The parable is thus relevant to both modes of intervention that Hashem employed in redeeming the Jewish People from Egypt.
The parable is as follows. Once a man sought to abduct his enemy from his home and imprison him. When the man arrived at his enemy’s home, his advisers told him: “Why do you need to haul this guy out of his house and lock him up someplace else? Just set up a blockade around the house.” The man heeded this advice, set up the blockade, and then left the scene to attend to other matters, confident that he had his enemy totally confined and under his control. But his captive had a secret passageway out of his house, and he availed himself of this passageway to escape. When the man who set up the blockade returned, he was astonished to find that his captive was gone. People who understood what happened said to him: “You fool! How could you think that you could hold this man captive in his own home? Didn’t you realize that since he himself built this house, he knew better than anyone else its ins and outs?”
Similarly, some wicked people think they can outwit Hashem to achieve their evil goals, but these people are fools. Since Hashem created the world, He obviously He can do with it as He pleases.   
Chag Kasher V'Sameach!
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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