How easily we forget what Hashem does for us. When we are in need, we know to Whom to turn in prayer and supplication. When we are answered, however, our attitude takes a sudden change of course. We no longer attribute our success to the Source of all success. We quickly say that it was our endeavor, our strength, our ability that catalyzed the success that we enjoy. What happened? How did we suddenly become myopic, failing to recognize that it was Hashem Who was clearly the one Who brought about every achievement that we attribute to our own prowess?
Horav Shlomo Brevda, Shlita, posed this question to the Chazon Ish shortly after he personally experienced a miracle. It was not long before his own feelings of acknowledgement and gratitude slowly began to dissipate. It happened that one night Rav Brevda was walking through one of the narrow alleyways of Yerushalayim on the way to the home of one of his relatives. A power failure that night made the walk in the pitch dark even more treacherous. He walked slowly, at times groping for a foothold. He was acutely aware that night that just before his relative’s home, a steep slope with sharp steps jutted out. To slip on these steps was to place one’s life in serious jeopardy. Rav Brevda walked very slowly until “something” told him to suddenly stop. He did, luckily stopping a few centimeters from the dangerous slope. There was no question in his mind. This was clearly a miracle.
The next day he went to the home of the Chazon Ish to discuss a number of issues with him. After the meeting, as Rav Brevda was preparing to leave, he turned to the Chazon Ish and said he had something else to discuss with him. After relating the miracle that had occurred to him the previous night, he said to the Chazon Ish, “Rebbe, after such a miracle, I was certain that the next morning I would arise from my bed a different person. I would sing forth the praises of the Almighty for saving my life. I would be overwhelmed with gratitude to Him. But, that did not happen. I arose this morning the exact same way I do every other day. No charge, no sparks; no enthusiasm and excitement. What happened?”
The Chazon Ish closed his eyes and thought for a few moments. Then he opened his eyes, looked at Rav Brevda and held his hands and said, “I will tell you a great yesod, principle, in avodas Hashem, service to the Almighty. There is a special yetzer hara, evil-inclination, that is referred to as the yetzer hara which follows a miracle. The goal of this yetzer hara is to weaken the emotional enthusiasm that is aroused as a result of a miracle. It is there to undermine and destroy whatever spirituality one might have been stimulated with. You are the victim of this yetzer hara.”
Rav Brevda supplemented this idea, explaining that with every level that one scales on the spiritual ladder, the yetzer hara, likewise, ascends and works harder to prevent any spiritual advancement. If we are to maintain the spiritual inspiration resulting from being privy to Hashem’s miracles, we will have to work very hard to see to it that the inspiration not be a temporary catalyst.