One of the clearest messages we glean from our biblical history is that great changes in the world result from the seemingly insignificant actions of a few men and women. Alexander the Great and his armies overran the world and yet he and his armies are gone. The Roman empire came saw and conquered ( Veni Vidi Vici) but are now a mere wisp of a memory. Hitler Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun murdered , pillaged and ravaged millions and are today but an embarrassing and putrid wound on mankind’s collective memory.
One man goes in chains into Egypt. He then overcomes his difficulties including past pains and enmities and gathers his family into his domain. This small group of seventy souls become a people who’s continued existence will serve as the measuring stick of the Divine plan of destiny. A small group of people amidst a vast array of powerful and aggressive empires, kingdoms and nations affect and impact the history of the world.
All the great leaders and monarchs of the world affected and changed their immediate environment but those changes were not everlasting. Yet it only took a few people to change and move forward the destiny of mankind. Such an action always needs to be a turning into a path geared for the “other” and not focused on personal enhancement. It also always involves a faithful stepping into the unknown.
When Abraham was ready , G-d appeared to him and said”…’I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou wholehearted. …. ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. ( Genesis 17:1-4)
What does the term ” walk before Me” mean? One could understand the statement “walk with Me”. That is what Noah and Enosh did. Yet here Abraham is asked to walk “before” HaShem. He is asked to walk into the unknown with the faith that HaShem is standing behind him. That is the type of faith and courage that changes the world.
One can never ascribe with certitude Divine intentions and purpose to dramatic events in our lives. Yet one cannot be help but be awakened by such events and be cognizant that meaning must be explored and introspection becomes crucial.
Israel experienced a long and dry season that lay the groundwork for the fatal and dramatic fire that ripped through the Carmel mountain area. It is in the midst of that fire that individuals stood forward and went into the midst of the flames. Some did not come out again. These were men and women in uniform and civilians young and old, that bravely went into the unknown in order to simply save lives. Their courage will not be forgotten in the hearts of their countrymen. The people of Israel stood in prayer and waited in worried concern .The sheer magnitude of the dry season , followed by a gigantic fire that was followed by courage and sacrifice took one’s breath away.
It was then that the heavens opened up and the earth was quenched in an almost miraculous downpour. We cannot make any assumptions about the Heavenly choices. The fire did not happen so that men and women would sacrifice their lives. Yet one cannot escape the fact that when they did, the Heavens opened the gates and cried their own tears.