WHICH CHILD HASN’T PLAYED Join the Dots? In this very high-tech society,
in which even small children play sophisticated electronic games,
Join the Dots may be a thing of the past.
it was sufficiently entertaining for a child to take a pencil and draw a line from dot-to-dot,
and watch a pre-arranged, but seemingly random set of points,
become a clever picture before his very eyes.
However, though the game may be gone,
the concept is as necessary to everyday life as ever before,
perhaps even more so today so close to the end of history.
While some people “throw the baby out with the bathwater”,
others bathe the “baby” in water that ought to be thrown out,
and the only way to avoid either situation is by having the proper context,
and that is always a function of joining dots, historical dots.
Not only this,
but doing so is crucial for one of the most important traits a Jew can develop:
bitachon—trust in God. For, by connecting the Torah “dots”, the picture that emerges is the
“Big Picture”, the “Aitz HaChaim”,
a vision that encompasses aspects of Creation far beyond that which is visible to the physical eye,
a vision that comes as close to God’s perspective of Creation as is humanly possible.
That is truly calming.
Such information can only result in a greater understanding of history,
and of how God runs His world.
At this late stage of history,
when so many events are occurring that seem to defy conventional wisdom,
it is crucial to have a context—the Aitz Ha-Chaim—into which to fit all those details—Aitz HaDa’as Tov v’Rah.
It’s the only way to remain sane,
which means realizing the spiritual opportunity of a moment,
and using it properly.
The starting point is in knowing that there is information available to us,
some of it going back thousands of years,
some of it far more current, that when woven together into a comprehensive intellectual tapestry,
yields an understanding that makes sense of even the most illogical aspects of history and human behavior.
Some of it belongs to the realm of “Nigleh”,
the revealed parts of Torah, and some of it to “Nistar”,
the hidden parts of Torah, but all of it is crucial for spiritually,
and perhaps physically, surviving the “End-of-Days”.
For, tradition states that when history as we know it comes to a close,
and the final stage of the War of Gog and Magog finally occurs,
there will be many who will be shocked by what happens. For such people,
the implications of such an ending to history will be staggering.
Like people who had invested their life savings in a sham,
they will feel as if they spent their entire lives walking the wrong path,
with no time to make amends.
Only a small group will be prepared.
And, it is not always so easy to know who they are,
for they aren’t always the most accomplished in the eyes of man.
Even the great Shmuel HaNavi had a difficult time seeing why Dovid ben Y
ishai was more fitting to be king of the Jewish people than his more successful and popular brothers.
That is, until he got to know him from God’s perspective.
Not only this,
but after four-fifths of the Jewish population—12,000,000—were killed during the Plague of Darkness in Egypt,
people were shocked the next day when they discovered who survived and who didn’t.
This was because only God knows what is truly in someone’s heart, and where it might lead them in the future.
Only God knows which roles will be necessary to fill in history,
and who is worth keeping around just to execute them.
Imagine what it was like after the seven days of darkness during which the Jews died as well.
Some family members survived,
many did not. Some friends were still living,
many had perished.
Only one out of every five Jews,
after only one week, remained.
But that was 3,319 years ago.
What relevance is there today in knowing such a statistic?
God said to Moshe,
“Stretch forth your hand toward the heavens and there shall be darkness upon the land of Egypt,
and the darkness will be tangible.” (Shemos 10:21)
And why did He bring darkness upon them?
Because there were wicked people amongst the Jewish people of that generation who had no desire to leave Egypt,
and these died during the three days of darkness … (Rashi)
Only one out of five left Egypt,
while four-fifths died during the three days of darkness because they were unworthy of being delivered. (Rashi, Shemos 13:18)
Rava said: It will be likewise in the Days of Moshiach. (Sanhedrin 111a)
For the people, that is,
who fail to connect the dots,
the Torah dots, the dots of history that reveal the true undercurrent of Jewish history,
and therefore, of all of history.
Given that four out of every five Jews today is assimilated,
prompting many to refer to this as a “Spiritual Holocaust”,
one can assume that there is no better time than the present to get out our intellectual pencils,
and to start finding those dots in need of connection.
We need to see the picture, the Big Picture.