Insight – Summer Night’s Dream

By Rabbi Simcha Scholar

(Getty images)

There is something surreal about long summer nights in the mountains. From some vantage points, an ocean of darkness spans  as far as the eye can see, pitch black. Without the  bright city lights and neon signs illuminating the  expanse, you are left shrouded in total darkness. You can easily get lost in the obscurity; the blackness is bleak and blinding. Yet, interestingly, it is precisely within these abysses of utter darkness that we can see and appreciate some of the most luminous lights. The shine of the stars seems so much brighter, more radiant. Of course, they are the very same stars that hover over the city. (A trip upstate does not elevate us enough to enjoy their radiance from up close!) It’s the contrast, sheer darkness against pure light, that shows us their brilliance. Sometimes, the blinding blackness allows us to see things more clearly. Sometimes, concealed within the darkest dusk we can see much more light.

Galus, Chazal teach us, is comparable to the dark of night. The hidden Hand of Hashem is concealed in layer upon layer of stifling, thick black. Throughout our lifetimes, each of us experiences this darkness in his or her own way. In the throes of pain, fear, and hardship we search for that desperately needed light,  and a bitter, hurting heart will often come up  feeling empty-handed, abandoned, and alone.

Our tefillos, our thrice-daily supplications, revolve around the hope that Hashem will light up the world with a Divine new light. We yearn endlessly for the “Ohr Chadash” to herald in a new era, a new reality, a new world. The tzaddikim likened that long-awaited horizon to someone being driven down a curvy road in the black of night. The car swerves, making sharp turns and short stops, throwing the passenger from side to side and causing him to hold on for dear life. When morning comes, as the sun sheds its light on the road well traveled, he will see the dangerous cliffs, boulders, and ditches that he thankfully avoided, precisely by being thrown about.

The promised light at the end of the tunnel gives us hope. But it’s important for us to also take note of the little lights along the way that carry us, encourage us, and prod us to forge on. Like the stars shrouded in total darkness, the light is so much greater when we are treading in a sea of black. 

We may not merit seeing the Hand of Hashem in the open and His miracles are certainly more concealed. Yet, the small wonders, the hashgachah pratis, lights up our lives only if we are open to seeing it. The things that go right when they don’t always,  blessings of nachas that evade so many, small internal successes that are not as common as we might wish, all point to the Hand of Heaven cradling us as we forge on. And perhaps the greatest miracle of all, we, me and you, our nation, our  families, our communities, still live on hoping  for the light.

Rabbi Simcha Scholar is the chief executive officer for Chai Lifeline.

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