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A Possible New Insight into “Mah Rabbu Maasecha Hashem – Kulam b’Chochma Asisa

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for

It is a pasuk found in Tehillim chapter 104, the 24th pasuk.

How great are Your works, O Hashem! You have made them all with wisdom; the earth is filled with Your creations!

The following imaginary situation, based upon Ed Yong’s recent book, “An Immense World,” gave this author a thought.  The thought was that, perhaps, this concept is alluded to in Dovid HaMelech’s pasuk that we recite daily.

Imagine a fairly large room that, for now, contains an elephant and a mouse.  A bird, a robin, joins in.  Then an owl and an upside-down bat come along.  There is now a rattle snake on the floor and a spider with its web in the corner.  There is a mosquito in the room, and a bumblebee on a potted plant.  And then there is a human, we will call him Ralph.

The elephant lifts its trunk to perceive its world, it smells nothing significant.  The rattlesnake, however, through flicking its tongue, detects the mouse’s recent pathway.  “Hmm, it thinks, supper is nearby.”

The mosquito smells the CO2 just emitted by Ralph’s breathing out and the delicious aroma of that which Ralph’s skin now evaporates.  It lands on Ralph’s bare arm.  “Food! At last,” it thinks.  But Ralph swats away at it.

The slap on Ralph’s arm now disturbs the mouse.  It squeaks, severely frightened.  The bat hears it.  The elephant does not – to the elephant the squeal is inaudible.

And speaking of our elephant, it now wishes to communicate with its shidduch, who is a little over six miles away – that’s from Boro Park to JFK as the crow flies.  It produces a very low-frequency noice between 1 and 20 Hertz called an infrasound in order to do this.  We only discovered these infrasounds in the 1980’s.

Ralph, however, hears no mouse’s squeal and no Shidduch lament of the elephant.  Ralph hears only the beautiful sound of the robin. Ralph does not fathom the complexities of that which is encoded in the robin’s tune.

Ralph sees the robin’s chest as red.  The elephant just sees different shades of blue and yellow.  The bumblebee is also does not perceive red – but can detect ultra-violet hues, shades and colors. It is sitting on top of sunflower plant which as an ultra-violet bulls-eye – invisible to Ralph, but can be seen by the bumblebee as well as the robin.   There is more, much more, but we get the picture.

And now, onto the new insight.

Each of these creations of Hashem is wonderous.  It’s perception of the world around it –  is particularly suited to its own particular needs. They have all been created with uncanny wisdom – a Divine wisdom.  And they all occupy the same space, and the world is filled with these creations of Yours – Hashem.

Mah Rabbu Maasecha!

The author can be reached at [email protected]

One Response

  1. For years I’ve been darshening the possuk, מה רבו מעשיך השם as follows: Most mefarshim say רבו is לשון רבוי, Hashem created a multitude of varied and wondrous creations, undoubtedly true. Tomer Devorah darshens it לשון חשיבות, מלשון רב ביתו, all of Hashem’s creations are very choshuv. I wanted to say derech drush, לשון מריבה, why are all Your creations fighting with each other, Hashem, כולם בחכמה עשית, You made everything with the ultimate in Chachma, מלאה הארץ קניניך, there’s plenty enough to go around, you just don’t have to fight to get whatever you want. For years I said that as if it was directed at all the fighters, but then I changed it and directed it at Hashem, “You created a world in which people think they have to fight to get their needs fulfilled, You could have created a world where people see that it’s not necessary, we’re entitled to ask You to do that.” When I told this to my very choshuv eidem he pointed out that what I’m asking for is the Geula, lions and sheep coexisting in peace. לעניננו, Hashem created a world in which people are prone to lust for power and greed – הקנאה והתאוה והכבוד מוציאין את אדם מן העולם – and בעוונותינו הרבים the most greedy and unscrupulous tend to prevail and make most of the significant decisions, but we can ask Him to change the world and give it over to the control of the truly humble and G-d fearing. במהרה בימינו אמן.

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