28 April 2017
Everything Else is “GMG"
By Roy S. Neuberger
We have completed the epic Yom Tov called Pesach and are counting the days until Shavuos. This reflects our ancestors’ historic physical and spiritual march from Mitzraim to Har Sinai, which in turn reflects the spiritual activity which should be going on at all times within the soul of a Yid, as we continuously work to free ourselves from our spiritual Mitzraim and deepen our attachment to the Ribono shel Olam.
With us, everything physical can and should be spiritual. When our physical life reflects the Torah life, then we are living the way we are supposed to live. In Gan Eden, before the rebellion, there was no contradiction between gashmius and ruchnius. We are trying to regain that perfect state of being.
Several decades ago, I had surgery just before Pesach. Baruch Hashem, something was removed which turned out to be, to use the technical term, “GMG …Gornisht Mit Gornisht!” (We once had a kindly pediatrician who, at a frightening moment, told us that our child’s problem was “GMG.” With that phrase, he brought us out of the “Valley of Death.”) After my surgery, I thought: “They removed the chometz! Now I am ready for Pesach!”
Avraham Avinu looked to the physical world and found its Creator.
“The heavens declare the glory of G-d and the expanse of the sky tells of His handiwork…” (Tehillim 19)
“I raise my eyes to the mountains. Whence will come my Help? My help is from Hashem, Maker of heaven and earth!” (Tehillim 121)
Hashem helps us in every possible way. The physical world reflects the spiritual world and we can learn from everything, even the pathway of an ant or the pathway of a comet. When Hashem helps us overcome physical obstructions, He is reassuring us that He will help spiritually as well.
A Gemora describes the relationship between Yetzias Mitzraim and the Geula Shelemah. We are familiar with this passage from the Haggadah: Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah was unable to convince his colleagues that one must mention Yetzias Mitzraim at night “until Ben Zoma expounded … ‘that you may remember the day when you came forth from Mitzraim all the days of your life.’” The superfluous word “all” implies that this refers also to the era of Moshiach.
“Ben Zoma said, Will we [in fact] mention the Exodus from Mitzraim in the Messianic Era? But has it not already been said: ‘Behold days are coming – the word of Hashem – when people will no longer swear, ‘As Hashem lives, Who brought the children of Israel up from the Land of Mitzraim,’ but rather, ‘As Hashem lives, Who brought up and brought back the offspring of the House of Israel from the Land of the North and from all the lands wherein He had dispersed them?’
“[The Sages] replied: [This verse does] not [mean] that [the mentioning of] the Exodus from Mitzraim will be uprooted from its place, but rather that [the mentioning of the Geulah Shelemah] will be primary and the Exodus from Mitzraim [will be] secondary to it.” (Berachos 12b)
This passage seems clearly to refer our generation. The Gemora uses the language, “the offspring of the House of Israel,” which appears to refer to a far-distant generation from the one that Hashem rescued from Mitzraim. This reminds me of the language in the first bracha of Shemoneh Esreh, “Who …brings a Redeemer to their children’s children.” We are the Children of the Children of the Avos, but – Baruch Hashem! – we are not excluded from the eternal bracha bestowed upon them!
Secondly, the passage refers to a redemption from “all the lands wherein He had dispersed them.” Surely this is a reference to the Final Redemption. In Mitzraim, our ancestors were all trapped in one country, but now – millennia in the future – we are spread out to “all the lands.” As we say every day, “gather us together from the four corners of the earth!”
The Haggadah speaks of “dam, v’aish v’simros ashan … Blood, fire and columns of smoke.” These words (from Yoel Hanovi 4:1),refer to the days when Hashem will “bring back the captivity of Yehuda and Yerushalayim.” The Be’er Miriam explains (based on Yerushalmi, Pesachim 10:1) that “the four cups of wine at the Seder represent the four measures of punishment to be doled out to the enemies of Israel at the time of the future redemption. The drops of wine that we spill from the cup (at the Seder) are to symbolize that the punishment of the Egyptians is like a drop in the ocean compared to those future punishments.” (Artscroll Interlinear Haggadah)
As we march from Mitzraim toward Har Sinai, we should contemplate these words. The enormous punishment inflicted upon Mitzraim is compared to “a drop in the ocean!” Is it possible to imagine the magnitude of the Geula Shelemah? No one except the Ruler of the Universe knows what is in store for the world! If the Revelation at Har Sinai was of such magnitude that the world has never been the same since, and if those events are only “a drop in the ocean” compared to the Future Redemption, how can we begin to understand its magnitude?
Everything else is “GMG” compared to that which Hashem is about to bring to the world!
“Multitudes upon multitudes [will fall] in the Valley of the [Final] decision, for the day of Hashem is near … Hashem will roar from Zion and will emit His voice from Yerushalayim and the heavens and earth will tremble.
“But Hashem will be a shelter for His people and a stronghold for the Children of Israel…. Jerusalem will be holy and aliens will no longer pass through her.” (Yoel 4:14ff)
May we merit to see the complete fulfillment of these words soon in our days!
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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2017 by Roy S. Neuberger