My teacher at the Jewish parochial school called a Cheder taught me a very important lesson: Whatever happens in the world contains a message from God. There are no random happenings; everything follows a plan.
As Albert Einstein wrote, “God does not play dice with the universe.”
On the other side of the coin Physicist Stephen Hawking, suggested that maybe God rolled the dice at the moment of creation, but after that event of creation man is free to do as he pleases.
There are many man-made programs that try to control world events. They range from Earth Day to Green Day. Programs are global with people attending worldwide. These are days when governments get together and designate a day for making agreements.
Whether it’s presidents, prime ministers, world leaders or world groups, they all have one thing in common — their secular view of the world. Man thinks that by reaching a consensus he can control the universe.
What options are there for God to bring religious consciousness to world leadership? It may be that God sends wake-up calls — earthquakes, fires, volcanoes and a virus that stops the flow of society’s order and control.
G-d seems to be saying, I have given you opportunities to make the world a better place and you have not done so. You have polluted the air and water, taken advantage of the poor and needy. You think that you can control and fix the world, making it a safer and kinder place to live by making special days and agreements?
Man can fly to the Moon or Mars But he can’t cure a virus that is almost invisible, so tiny that it can’t be seen or detected or understood.
So G-d sends us a reminder that he, indeed, is in control of the universe. It may be that the spreading of the virus is cruel reminder to recognize the need to change our way of living.
Since the catastrophic virus began there has not been such a disruption of the normal way of living. Millions of people have had their lives disrupted. Billions of dollars have been lost and global warming and greenhouse effects have to be recalibrated. As the Yiddish philosopher said, “Man plans and God laughs‘’ or as the English equivalent says, "Man proposes and G-d disposes." As lives are lost people learn that they are not in control.
One of the lessons we can learn from these catastrophic events is that when signing agreements or designating special days we must bring G-d back into the equation.
There is some good news on the horizon. Since the virus appeared, many countries with their citizens have relearned kindness and sharing. Acts of compassion are being experienced daily. When we make the right decision we make G-d very happy. Scientists have dedicated themselves to finding a vaccine and seem to have succeeded.
G-d controls mother nature. So if we truly want to have a peaceful, healthy Earth we need to reach out and remember that we need G-d’s help.
Maybe we ought to have a Day, which will accentuate the Supreme Being, cutting across all lines of organized religion and government.
We can call it G-d’s Day and all humankind can participate. Wouldn’t that be great!
Rav Eli Hecht is Director and Founder of Chabad of South Bay, Lomita California, former President Rabbinical Council of California, and Vice President of the Rabbinical Alliance of America.