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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
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Columbus Discovered America; Hashem Invented It


This is a fallacy. It’s much like Columbus finding America – he discovered it but he didn’t create it. When man taps into a powerful force in Hashem’s world, he has created nothing – he has merely uncovered some of the intricacies of the systems and machines Hashem uses to run this world. Using systems, laws, principles, and entire machines already in place, man comes along and changes a gear. The effect may be significant, but he created nothing.

The Difference Between Moshe and Us

The answer to the question on Rashi seems to be that Moshe Rabbeinu understood that any action he engaged in was but flipping the switch. It is Hashem’s machine, and Hashem’s rules run that machine.

If Hashem says that in this situation going through the motions is what will bring about the results – that’s just a different way of flipping the switch. When Moshe went through the motions of lifting the Mishkan, the action was still attributable to him because Hashem said that in regard to that situation this was the system He set up. You wave your hands, and this will be the result. In that sense, Moshe used the system Hashem put into place. It was no different from a farmer planting wheat or a couple having a child. It’s all miraculous, and man’s role is always just going through the motions. As such, this was how Moshe erected the Mishkan. He used Hashem’s machine to bring about the result.

This understanding is pivotal in our understanding of Hashem’s involvement in nature and the running of this world, and it focuses our perspective concerning our own involvement in this world.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of TheShmuz.com. The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at www.TheShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.

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