Our haftorah tells of Naaman, the Syrian general who was afflicted by
leprosy. He traveled to Elisha the Prophet in search of a cure.
"And Elisha sent a message to him saying, 'Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will return to you and you will be cleansed.'
"But Naaman grew angry and went away, and he said, 'Lo, I had thought he would come out to me in ceremony and he would call out in the Name of Hashem his Lord, and he would wave his hands at the place and the leprosy would be cured.
"'Are not Avana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not have washed in them and become clean?' And he turned and left in anger." (II Kings 5:10-12)
Eventually Naaman's servants prevailed upon him to at least try heeding the words of the prophet, and he bathed in the Jordan and was cured.
We have here a graphic depiction of Naaman's idea of how Hashem ought to act. Certainly what Hashem does must be accompanied by lots of fanfare, solemn incantations and plenty of ceremony. Now THAT would be a miracle worthy of the name!
But Hashem has something to teach Naaman: none of this is necessary at all. He can accomplish His ends by having Naaman take a quiet dip in the waters of Israel.
Perhaps we too can learn something from this point.
We expect that if we hear of a cataclysmic event, one that comes complete with a thunderous roar and all kinds of visual effects, then we may search there for the hand of Hashem. But it isn't only in events of that magnitude that Hashem manifests Himself and sends us His messages. In the quiet happenings, the ones that go almost unnoticed by most people, therein too we may find Hashem's hand at work--if we only have the perceptiveness to look for it.
Copyright (c) 1997 by Rabbi Levi Langer
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