משפיל גאים, ומגביה שפלים
Who humbles the haughty and lifts the lowly
Within these four words, HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l (Tefilas Avigdor) sees a major lesson in emunah and bitachon.
It is difficult to imagine a more downtrodden and lowly people than B’nei Yisrael were in Mitzrayim. We had been slaves for generations, constantly beaten and demoralized, both physically and emotionally. We had been oppressed and treated viciously and saw no signs of hope.
Our spiritual level was no different. Chazal tell us that we were in the 49th level of impurity, one level away from no return. This was our state for generations: the lowest levels possible – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Yet, despite these lowest of levels, Hashem raised us up within a very short period of time. We left Mitzrayim amidst awesome miracles and wonders, and with great wealth. Hashem proclaimed us His “firstborn son” and chose us as His people. Hashem split the sea for us and showered us with a multitude of miracles, even during K’rias Yam Suf; and then Hashem sustained us with constant miracles until we arrived at Har Sinai to receive the greatest gift of all, the Torah. More miracles followed for our 40 years in the midbar until we eventually entered our land, Eretz Yisrael. B’nei Yisrael had come from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs.
At the same time, the Mitzriyim, who were the superpower of the world at that time, went from being on top of the world to the bottom of the sea, totally decimated and destroyed.
Yosef HaTzadik experienced a similar story. Sold as a slave by his own brothers, thrown into prison for 12 years, and not seeing his family for 22 years, his life seemed as low as an individual’s life can get. And then, Hashem raised him up from the depths to become the viceroy of all Mitzrayim, the superpower of the world at that time. The whole world eventually turned to him for sustenance, and he wound up on top of the world shortly after his being released from prison.
Integrating Mitzvos into Our Daily Lives
We see clearly that Hashem runs the world. There is no nation or individual whom Hashem cannot take from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows; and there is no nation or individual whom Hashem cannot take from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. “ישועת ה’ כהרף עין–Y’shuas Hashem k’heref ayin (The salvation from Hashem can come in the blink of an eye).”
B’nei Yisrael merited to be redeemed because of their bitachon when they entered into the sea before it split, and Yosef HaTzadik is known as the epitome of one who placed his trust in – and reliance on – Hashem.
We all travel through high and low points in our lives. Our history of Y’tzias Mitzrayim and the rise of Yosef HaTzadik can provide much needed strength during the low points of our lives. We trust and rely on Hashem, so we accept our current bitter state as Hashem doing what is best for us right now, at this moment. But at the same time, we hope and daven that what is best for us quickly transitions from bitter to sweet. Our hope is fueled by the knowledge that Hashem loves us as His child, is our compassionate Father Who is the ultimate “baal chesed,” and that He has the ability to turn things around instantly.