It has disrupted air travel for millions across the globe and even as flights resume, due to the backlog it has caused, it will continue to do so for weeks to come. The puny human mind boggles when considering the myriad calculations of Hasgakha Pratis=Divine providence of the minutest of details that has made some lose lucrative business deals, some miss weddings or other joyous occasions, some miss out on vacations and some miss homecomings or returns to school. No doubt among these lurk many favors masquerading as setbacks e.g. air traffic disasters, terrorist attacks, robberies or murders on the ground, debilitating or fatal MVAs, family feuds avoided, business meetings gone awry et al.
Rav Desller famously wrote that the expression “I’ve left nothing to chance” is just another iteration of the ancient hymn to hubris כֹּחִי וְעֹצֶם יָדִי, עָשָׂה לִי אֶת-הַחַיִל הַזֶּה. ="My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth." Imagine all those travelers heading to their respective airports “photo I.D….check, passport…check, laptop…check, noise cancelling headphones…check, itinerary…check, Rolodex…check, camcorder check, blackberry …check, e-ticket….check”. In short, everything was covered to make this an enjoyable, efficient and/or profitable trip. Nothing was left to chance. Then Mount Eyjafjallajokull blew its top.
I was ranting quite a bit during the Sefira week of Gevurah about personal courage and the lack thereof. In theological terms however Gevurah is related to the מדת הדין=trait of rigorous judgment and the Divine Name identified with this conduct is Elokim. As is well known the gimatriya of this Divine name equals that of הטבע= (the) Nature. The Icelandic volcano erupted just following the week of Gevurah. For a believing Jew when a rare but natural phenomenon occurs it serves as a reminder that we are not in charge. That all our competitiveness, alacrity and exertions are mirages א מענטש טראכט...און דער אייבירשטער לאכט= that "While man plans G-d laughs/mocks"(In Yiddish it actually rhymes!) and G-d is still running the cosmos.
אכן אתה קל מסתתר
Qedusha-Havdala…have you had YOURS today??? Hmmm???