The Midrash Tanchuma questions why Yaakov Avinu blessed his sons using the Name Keil Shakkai. They explain that our Patriarch endured much adversity in his life. While yet in the womb, he fought with his twin brother, Eisav. It was not easy growing up with such a brother, having to look over his shoulder constantly to see if Eisav was planning a terror attack against him. Finally, when the opportunity materialized, Yaakov escaped home, only to land in the home of his corrupt uncle, Lavan. After twenty years of swindling and deceit, Yaakov once again escaped. Three days later, Yaakov confronted Lavan. After listening to Lavan’s empty threats, they bid good-by to one another. Then came Eisav once again, a meeting that went surprisingly well, with each brother going his own way. As soon as this was over, Yaakov moved on and experienced the adversity of Dina, who was violated by Shechem. Then Rachel Imeinu died. Finally, Yaakov wanted a little bit of rest to catch his breath spiritually. This was not to be, as the tzarah, adversity, of Yosef engulfed him, lasting until shortly before he died. It still was not over. Shimon was taken captive, and later it was Binyamin. Yaakov was unaware that his sons were actually in the best of hands. He said to Hashem: ‘Enough!’ Hashem, who said to His world, Dai, ‘Enough!’ should say enough to my tears, troubles.” Keil Shakkai is a reference to G-d, Who said, Dai, ‘it is enough!’
The Kotzker Rebbe, zl, explains the Midrash pragmatically. When Hashem created the world, He could easily have created it in such a manner that would clearly indicate the Source of its creation. Hashem could have made loud noises and sent down a ready-made, full-blown world for all to see. There would be no question of Who was the world’s Creator. It would have been such an enormous miracle that questions would be ludicrous. It could have been no different than the splitting of the Red Sea, which was witnessed or heard of by an entire world. It was without any question a miracle of epic proportion. The same idea could have applied to the creation of the world. Hashem, however, did not want to reveal Himself (His part in the creation of the world). He concealed His glory to allow for man to have the ability to choose right from wrong. If Hashem’s Presence had been compellingly clear, then man would have been forced to choose the correct path. Without choice, rewards are not relevant. Thus, Hashem set parameters to Creation, saying, Dai! “Enough.” He who wants to deny the existence of Hashem can do so. He who is prepared to accept Hashem’s Presence, however, who is able to see Hashem even in His concealed state, who can understand that such a magnificent world could only have been created by G-d – he deserves to be rewarded for his faith.
We must realize that the troubles which challenge our lives do not “just happen,” as those with self-inflicted myopic vision would like us to think. Everything that occurs – both (seemingly) positive and (seemingly) negative – happens for a specific purpose: to guide and show us that Hashem is in charge; He created the world; He continues to guide every aspect of its operation. Thus, when troubles occur, we should immediately turn to Hashem and entreat Him to put a halt to our trouble.
This is what Yaakov asked of Hashem: “Say to our troubles – Dai! ‘Enough.’ Hashem, I merited to recognize Your Presence earlier, when the original troubles were sent to challenge me. I knew then the purpose of the challenge and saw Hashem amidst my adversity. I really do not require anymore ‘lessons.’ I have hopefully passed the test. It is time to move on.” Thus, Keil Shakkai, G-d Who said, Dai, should grant you rachamim, mercy, before the Man.
Seeing G-d amidst misery is incumbent upon every one of us. The well-known question, which those of questionable faith ask, is: Where was G-d during the Holocaust? The response of any believing Jew should be: Where was He not? Anyone who survived the Nazi purgatory will concede that it was miraculous. His survival, while so many were brutally murdered, is inexplicable. Hashem was present, guiding everything. Those with acute vision saw Him.
The Klausenberger Rebbe, zl, saw Hashem amidst his misery. The story is told that he was shot in the arm by a German soldier. His arm was bleeding profusely, and, if he had not stopped the bleeding soon, he would have succumbed to a loss of blood. He came upon a tree and ripped off some of its leaves, using them as a makeshift bandage. It took time, but the bleeding eventually stopped. The Rebbe vowed that, if Hashem spared him from the Holocaust, he would express his gratitude to Him by building a hospital where Jews could receive proper medical attention. He saw Hashem amidst the darkness and desolation of the Holocaust. To those who asked, “Where was G-d during the Holocaust?” the Rebbe responded, “Where was He not?” Hashem manipulated world events. He saw His Guiding Hand.
Laniado Hospital is the centerpiece of the Rebbe’s work in Netanya, Israel. It is, however, not all that he built. Those who survived the Holocaust were undoubtedly emotionally traumatized. This is especially true of those young people who became lonely orphans overnight, without family, with nothing and no one to care for them. The Rebbe was very sensitive to the needs of orphans –once again, seeing G-d’s message amidst darkness and hopelessness.
One morning, the Rebbe opened his front door to discover some children standing there, bearing a note. The children’s mother could no longer care for them. She implored the Rebbe to take over and become their surrogate father and mother. Seeing the children, the Rebbe recognized a need. He immediately ordered that the original plan for a building which was in the process of construction to fill a specific need, be changed, so that it would, instead, be turned into an orphanage.
The Rebbe’s concern for the children who lost their parents heralded back to his tenure in the DP, Displaced Persons, camps. One erev Yom Kippur, shortly following the liberation, there was a knock on the Rebbe’s door. The principal of the girls high school that the Rebbe had established in the DP camp informed him that the girls were quite upset that they had no living parent to bless them before Yom Kippur. It was late; the Rebbe still had to prepare himself for the Holy Day of Atonement. Nonetheless, in his typical manner, he ignored his own needs and instructed the principal to have the girls form a line outside his window. He blessed every single child. Every Jewish child deserves to be exposed to a loving and caring environment.
The Klausenberger Rebbe did not lose himself in depression. He saw Hashem amidst the greatest misery. Thus, after the war, he knew that he had to share this feeling with others, so that they, too, would see Hashem everywhere. In the midst of the greatest tzaros, troubles, Hashem is to be found. When we sit down with our families, our students, we should underscore this verity. There is always an opportunity for rejuvenation. Imo Anochi b’tzarah; “I am with him in his troubles”: Hashem never forsakes us. Why should we forsake Him? We must always look toward rebuilding.