will command My blessing for you in the sixth year, and it will yield produce for three years.”

(Vayikra 25:21)


Hashem runs the world by three methods. The first is via teva — the laws of nature. The second is through neis — open miracles like those we saw during Yetzias Mitzrayim. This method supersedes nature and is used only for Klal Yisrael as a whole or for holy people such as prophets.

The third way combines both nature and miracles — the middah of brachah, blessing. (Chofetz Chaim, Sefer Sheim Olam)

“Let’s go as far away as we can.”

“The Hermon?” The question hung there.

For years my husband and I talked about driving up to the northernmost part of the country to see snow-covered Har Hermon.

A seven-hour round trip is a big deal, but this was my long-awaited bein hazmanim getaway, and having successfully finished packing away another Pesach, I was ready to explore new horizons. Har Hermon it was.

The trip north was stunning. We drove past scenery made lush by a winter’s worth of blessed rain, and hills covered with wildflowers and deer and cattle grazing.

As we reached the single winding road to the mountain, we both were eager to go as high as we could. But suddenly we were stopped by a big electronic gate.

“The resort’s closed the whole week,” said the guard. “They’re putting in a new cable car.”

“Can’t we just drive in to touch the snow?” I sounded like a little kid. But no. Closed was closed. We looked at each other, disappointment in both our eyes. Now what? All driven up with nowhere to go.

So we made quick arrangements, adjusted our expectations, and away we went on a jeep to tour the upper Golan.

Compared to a miracle that overrides nature, blessings do not create anything new within the natural world. Rather, they tap into underlying potential and enhance it.

A person may not recognize the role Hashem’s blessing played in his success. It may come in the form of a suddenly available business associate, or seemingly natural growth and produce. But blessings fall mostly upon one who recognizes them. As it says in Devarim (8:18): “You must remember Hashem, your G-d, for it is He Who gives you strength to make wealth.”

Ilan, our jeep driver, was a gregarious fellow, knowledgeable in the history of the region as well as the flora and fauna. We descended upon a stunning waterfall that had been dry for the last 25 years. This year it was running strong, its pounding force a testimony to Forces beyond our control.

He also took us to the Syrian border. Overlooking the valley separating the two countries, he pointed out a nearby village. “That was a Syrian rebel stronghold until about eight months ago. Now it’s flattened, but for years we’ve dealt with the fallout of the rocket fire and hand-to-hand warfare.”

As we meandered through valleys, the mountains of Lebanon and Syria surrounded us, surveying us, as if daring us to forget how puny we were beneath their lookout.

Brachah reveals hashgachas Hashem. Though most blessings appear coincidental, they’re within the parameters of miracles, even if we don’t recognize them as such. After all, if brachah were just part of nature, we wouldn’t be able to pray for it.

Those with faith merit receiving blessings. As Yirmiyahu states (17:7) “Blessed is he who trusts in Hashem.” Hashem has apportioned us brachah throughout our galus. There’s no logical explanation for our survival, yet Am Yisrael is chai v’kayam.

We drove back in silence, both of us lost in thought after several hours of scenery, history, and above all, mystery. The overflowing waterfalls, the relative peacefulness despite the bloodshed occurring just over the border fence. Miracle or nature? The answer was as clear as the mountain peaks etched against an eternal sky.

In retrospect, I’m glad the Hermon chose this particular week for maintenance. How else would I have seen the glory of the Golan, with its secluded pockets of spring flowers and sweet-scented air? How else would I have felt the pulse of the place, the earth itself sending its secret formula for survival — siyata d’Shmaya?

We’d gone as far as we could. And the trip took us even further.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 643)