Don’t you love the feeling of being in control? You have your morning routine, your customized workout, you control every dial and setting and speed that you possibly can. Amazon delivers almost before you press the order now button. Texts are responded to instantly, calls are picked up before they ring and you expect that. You are in control of your life!
Don’t you enjoy and depend on order and predictability?
But control is an illusion. I may feel like I’m in control, but when it comes down to it, I am absolutely not. And if there’s any indication of that, it’s 9/11 or Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma and so many other natural disasters.
Weather forecasters can identify the storm. They can track it, measure its force, estimate its trajectory and predict its impact. But they, and we, are powerless to stop or redirect it, despite the tremendous technological and scientific advances we have seen in the last few decades.
In the Torah parshat Ki Tavo we read about the mitzvah of bikkurim. Every farmer in the land of Israel was obligated to bring the first fruits of his harvest to the Temple for the priests to consume. Imagine!
A farmer who tilled and prepared the soil, carefully planted, watered, pruned, and cared for his crop, was then required to give away his very first produce! Why should he? As a reminder that G-d, and G-d alone, controls our livelihood, and, in fact, every aspect of our lives.
Hurricane Irma and 9/11 reinforces this lesson. I am not in control of my life; G-d is.
Menachem M Bluming, Chabad.org and Rabbi Vigler