Az Yashir: Hashgacha and Ahavas Hashem
תבאמו ותטעמו בהר נחלתך, מכון לשבתך פעלת ה', מקדש ה' כוננו ידיך
You shall bring them and implant them on the mount of Your heritage, the foundation of Your dwelling-place, which You, Hashem, have made: the sanctuary, Hashem, that Your hands established.
As I sat this morning to write this segment, I was reminded about the Gemara in Maseches B’rachos daf 33a, which mentions our pasuk. It then hit me that today may, in fact, be daf 33 in the Daf Yomi cycle, and sure enough it is, indeed. When we become aware of Hashem’s presence and feel His love through daily, “routine,” “non-incredible” events like this, we have a great opportunity of which, perhaps, we often don’t take advantage. We can simply say, “Yes, what’s new? Another hashgachah event” and move on in our busy, hectic day. OR, we can sit back for a moment and savor Hashem’s kiss. We can feel Hashem’s great love for us, followed by thanking Him with heart, followed by nurturing our feelings of love for Hashem.
Ahavas Hashem – loving Hashem – is the ultimate purpose of life, according to many sources. It is the highest level one can achieve. It is beyond the scope of our segment to discuss this great mitzvah in depth, other than to say that this mitzvah is mentioned in the Torah 13 times. The numerical equivalent of both the word “אהבה–ahavah” and “אחד–echad” is 13. “Ahavas Hashem” follows immediately after we say “Hashem Echad” in Shema, right after “Baruch Sheim.” In the morning, preceding Shema, we say “וקרבתנו לשמך הגדול סלה באמת, להודות לך וליחדך באהבה–V’keiravtanu l’shimcha ha’gadol selah be’emes, l’hodos l’cha u’l’yachedcha b’ahavah (You have brought us close to Your great name forever in truth, to offer praiseful thanks to You, and proclaim Your Oneness with love).” We are saying: Why does Hashem bring us close? It is to thank Him and make Him One in the world with love. As we mentioned in concept last week, this can be accomplished sitting alone. When we reflect for a moment or two about the awesomeness of Hashem in arranging an “ordinary” hashgachah pratis story like this, we are performing our purpose in life. If a statistician were to calculate the odds of my sitting to write a segment as I do each week, b’ezras Hashem, and finding that the segment we are up to this week coincides with the Daf (one out of over 2,700) today, I believe the odds of that happening would be minuscule. I have not ever completed Daf Yomi (unfortunately), but I have heard Daf learners make similar kinds of observations on a number of occasions, where the daf, which discussed a particular day or event, fell out on that day.
But this phenomenon is not unique to Daf Yomi. Hashem is with each of us every day. The more we open are eyes, minds, and hearts, the more we will feel Hashem’s presence and feel Hashem’s powerful love for us, as we come to recognize His abundant lovingkindness to us to a greater and greater extent.
These opportunities are precious. Let us make maximum use of these kisses and hugs from Hashem and not dismiss them as “just another hashgachah story.” Let us savor one of the biggest gifts Hashem can give us – feeling His love and enhancing our love for Him – and not hurry on to the next item we can check off on our list, even if that item is a mitzvah.