Candle Lighting time 4:31 p.m.
Everything I observe makes me believe this is true: Order is not natural. When I consider my desk, I’m astounded at how quickly it descends into chaos and how long it takes me to restore order. Order requires intervention; it does not happen naturally.
I shouldn’t be surprised. God’s role in bringing order out of chaos is a prominent biblical theme. He did it when He was creating the nation of Israel (Ex. 7–14). When God said it was time to bring our ancestors out of Egypt, Pharaoh objected. His nation’s economy depended on the Hebrew workers, so Pharaoh didn’t want to lose them. Beginning with this week’s Torah portion, Vaera, to change Pharaoh’s mind, God sent the first seven plagues out of ten to convince him. Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate the first two plagues, blood and frogs. But they could not reverse the plagues—any of them. They could cause chaos, but they could not restore order. Only God can do that.
With effort, we can bring order to our living spaces, but very few of us can bring order out of the emotional and spiritual chaos of our lives. We need help from our family, friends, and professionals. One should never overlook the positive role that God can play in our lives. The chaotic life of an addict can teach us this truth even in our own lives. The second step in the 12 steps to recovery of addiction is “Come to believe that a power greater than ourselves restore us to sanity.”
The Holy One can help restore order to chaotic situations. Rabbi Meir taught: “Study with all your heart and with all your soul to know God’s ways and to watch at the doors of the divine law. Keep God’s law in your heart and let divine reverence always be before your eyes. Keep your mouth from sin and purify and sanctify yourself from trespass and iniquity and God will be with you in every place.” ( Babylonian Talmud Berachot 17a)
Because God is with us we can live as God intended—speaking no evil, being peaceable and gentle, and showing humility to all.