Yotzeir Ohr #12
כי הוא לבדו פועל גבורות, עושה חדשות, בעל מלחמות
For He alone effects mighty deeds, makes new things, is Master of wars
The well-known bitachon statement that Rabbi Akiva would regularly and frequently repeat – “Kol d’avid Rachamana, l’tav avid (All that Hashem does is for the good)” – is a backdrop to everything being said in our current tefilah.
Let us examine Rabbi Akiva’s statement in depth. “Kol d’avid Rachamana” means that everything comes from Hashem. New inventions, changes in history, changes in our nation and the world, changes in our personal lives, wars, hunger, the explosive and miraculous post-Holocaust growth (both spiritually and materially) all come from Hashem through messengers. To quote HaRav Shimon Schwab: “In reality, it is HaKadosh Baruch Hu, in His extreme closeness to our world, Who has done all this, because He has given man the intelligence, energy, drive, and ingenuity to conquer the physical world.”
“Rachamana” means with love and compassion. Everything Hashem does, whether sweet or bitter, is l’tav – for our ultimate eternal benefit. “Ki Hu l’vado,” as we mentioned, means that He alone brings about everything. As much as we have heard and read this many times, we apparently need to review it regularly and frequently, as Rabbi Akiva did. If the great Rabbi Akiva saw the need to repeat it regularly and frequently, can any of us legitimately think, “Oh, I heard and read this many times before”?
It is worthwhile to contemplate what life was like only 100 years ago, compared to today. In terms of history, 100 years is minute. Yet, if we think about almost any convenience that we now think of as “absolute necessity,” it is likely that they did not have that “necessity” 100 years ago and certainly not 200 years ago: running water, indoor plumbing, air conditioning, washing machines, dishwashers, cars, the ability to travel (and especially to Eretz Yisrael), and medical advances in so many areas that were a death sentence in the past but are today routine “procedures” or operations. These are only a handful of examples.
The abundant brachah in the last 75 years has been an astounding kindness from Hashem that has allowed us to rebuild in miraculous fashion, both spiritually and materially. The amounts of s’farim and resources available now to learn Torah and serve Hashem with joy are mindboggling. We have s’farim written on every aspect and detail of Torah. We have unprecedented numbers of talmidei chachamim learning Torah full time all over the world.
S’farim from ArtScroll and the other publishers, technology like All-Daf and TorahAnytime, and so much more, have made learning Torah and growing closer to Hashem accessible to everyone, regardless of language, learning level, and gender. Millions of hours of Torah are available to be learned in ways that could never have been dreamed of in the past.
Worldwide chesed is available at unprecedented levels in every area of life. We have free-loan gemachs for just about any item we can imagine. Local, community, and national organizations assist us in so many areas. Outreach and in-reach is spreading across the world.
Hashem alone is the Oseh Chadashos (Maker of New Things). He alone has advanced the world to where it is, and He alone makes and fights wars. We need to remember that wars are not won because we have F-35 fighter aircraft. They are not won because we have a superior air force. They are won because Hashem blesses those who are ready to give up their lives to defend Eretz Yisrael and causes their efforts to succeed. They are won because He alone is the Baal Milchamos (Master of Wars) and the Shoveir Oivim (Breaker of Enemies). They are won because we cry out our T’hilim mindfully and with great passion and emotion, and say the brachah of V’laMalshinim in Shemoneh Esrei the same way. They are won because of the Torah being learned worldwide and the chesed being performed worldwide. They are won because of the soldiers who put their lives on the line to defend the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael. And they are won because of the bitachon that we have that “Hu l’vado” – He alone decrees success in all areas of life.
We have been granted a great opportunity when we recite the words “Ki Hu l’vado” and all the phrases that follow. Let us take advantage of this opportunity and privilege to deepen our level of bitachon every day, b’ezras Hashem.