Did you know, my friends, that the whole world vibrates with lessons for you and me? We just sometimes are so blind to spirituality we don’t bother to see. Moshe saw a burning bush and stopped to contemplate. That quality of stopping to ponder is what made him so great. Don’t rush through the day without stopping to notice things. Because what you see in the day that unfolds has messages of spirituality that it brings.
Back in the day when Chassidus just started, the great Masters of Chassidus showed this in practice to their students. Every walk they took unfolded the secrets of the world and taught them how to be “metaken”, how to fix their inner being. No conversation or event they saw was random. Everything experienced was another message from G-d.
One day, a great rabbi took his students on a walk in the forest. It was spring, a time when leaves ought to be firmly attached to the life-giving branches of the tree. However, there on the floor of the forest was a vibrant green leaf, torn away from its secure perch on the tree.
“Wait,” said the Rebbe, “this makes no sense. In autumn the leaves fall. It is now spring. Leaf, what are you doing down on the ground?”
In the silence of the forest, the Rebbe “heard” the answer of the leaf. “It was not my choice,” said the green leaf. “I was holding on to the twig that attached me to the tree, when the twig snapped. And I fluttered down here.”
The Rebbe raised his eyes and looked at the broken twig. “Twig, what did you do? Why did you snap and drop a live leaf?”
“I,” said the twig, “you think it was my choice. The branch gave a jounce and I broke.”
“Ah, branch,” said the Rebbe, “what kind of behavior is that? Why did you bounce and cause a twig to snap and cause a leaf to drop?”
The branch grunted, “You’re blaming me? How am I to blame? Am I in charge? All I know is that the wind blew really hard against me, causing me to bounce. My bounce made the twig snap. The twig
snap made the leaf fall. I’m not the one in charge, Rebbe Leyben.”
The Rebbe now sought out the wind. “Oh Wind,” said the Rebbe, “please help me understand. Why did you blow on a spring day and cause these events to happen?”
The forest was no longer silent. The wind swirled by and gave his answer. “I’m not in charge. It wasn’t my choice. There is an angel in charge of me. Today, the angel came to me, took me out of my holding place and told me, ‘go blow’. And so I blew. I am not in charge. I do as I’m told. Why I was told to blow, I don’t know.”
The Rebbe now turned to the angel. “Malach,” he said, “won’t you tell me why you let the wind blow on a fine spring day, causing a leaf to die on a forest floor?”
The answer he got was just like all the others. The angel said, “You, Rabbi, ought to know I am not in charge. G-d told me to let the wind out and so I did.”Ah, ultimately G-d runs the world, doesn’t He, and for all answers, we must go to the source of all that happens. The Rebbe now began to pray. “Hashem, please help me understand. Can I know why you set these things in motion?”
The answer demonstrates the Hashgacha Pratis, the individual supervision of every little event that happens in this world. The Rebbe was told: The sun came out today and a little inchworm was making his way on the forest floor. It was hot and he was going to shrivel up. He raised his warm voice and requested help. And so, the angel was sent to let out the wind, the wind blew and shook the branch. The branch shook and snapped the twig. The twig snapped and the leaf fell…and, Rebbe, if you pick up the leaf you will find a very comfortable inchworm sleeping peacefully in the shade of a fallen leaf.”