Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Life Lessons
Parshas Bishalach: Chasam Sofer & Vilna Maggid - Hashem The Doctor

Hashem promises that even we listen to His commands and keep the Mitzvos he will spare us from the illnesses of Mitztrayim, כי אני ה' רופאך' for He is our doctor (Bishalach 15:26). Why is the metaphor of Hashem as a doctor used to encourage us to keep the Mitzvos?

The MiShuchan Govoa brings from Rav Yaakov Yosef the Maggid of Vilna that this is a Mashal. When we go to a Doctor to cure our ailments, says the Maggid, and he prescribes a medicine we don't ask for an explanation as to how the particular pills will make our pain go away. We accept that there are complex ingredients in the pill that chemically activate our bodies to fight whatever ails us. Similarly when it comes to doing mitzvos we should follow the doctors orders without demanding explanations and acting as the judge and jury to determine its efficacy.

He also brings the Chasam Sofer who brings a similar yet more literal approach. We tend to view all cause and effect in this world as falling into two distinct categories, natural or divine. However the Chasam Sofer says that this isn't the case. Rather every cause and effect in the world is natural and was all part of creation. What we call divine, he calls lacking complete knowledge of the natural.

Just like it is perfectly natural that clouds cause rain, so too is it perfectly natural that worship of Avodah Zara prevents rain. The only difference is that the prior example we understand how it works, while in the latter the cause and effect is hidden from us. If we had complete mastery over the inner workings of nature we would understand why drinking animal blood cuts short our life, why the Parah Adumah purifies us, and what damage we cause ourselves when wearing linen and wool together.

Hashem urges us to follow His directives, for the Master of Creation is the only One fully capable of creating guidelines for the good life. Listen to the good Doctor because only He truly knows.