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The Greatest Artist of All

by Rabbi Paysach Krohn

The good with which God surrounds us every day is too often taken for granted. From the blossoms on the tree, to the rising and the setting of the sun, we accept the beauty of nature with casual indifference. Even in our personal lives, we fail to pause and consider the miracles of our daily existence. Only when these "daily miracles" are taken away do we realize the magnitude of the gift that we had all along, but failed to appreciate.

How often have we heard a person on crutches say, "Now I appreciate the value of a healthy body"; or an older person say, "If only I had taken advantage of youth when I had it."

The Chassan Sofer (1835-1883) once used the following parable to portray man's inattentiveness to the "natural" things in life:


A world-renowned sculptor was commissioned to design a statue that would be placed in the city square. After much thought he decided on a work that would pay tribute to the animal that had given civilization its mobility and versatility - the horse.

For months he worked meticulously, paying attention to every detail, sculpting every sinew and muscle of his bronze stallion, so that it would be a lifelike replica of God's miracle.

After two years of painstaking effort, the statue was complete. The artist presented it to the city officials who agreed unanimously that it was truly magnificent. They promptly placed the bronze stallion in the city square, where people - much to the shock of the sculptor - completely ignored it.

He could not believe it. Each day he would walk by his masterpiece to see if anyone would stop to admire his work, and every day he would return home dejected. No one had given his horse a second glance.

In despair, he confided to his friend, "I cannot believe that people are so insensitive," he began. "I worked on the project for two years, and today it stands in the square ignored. Everyone passes it by without even giving it a second glance."

"My dear friend, the problem is that your horse is too perfect," his friend answered. "People think it is a real horse - and who is going to stop to look at a horse!"

"So what should I do?" exclaimed the exasperated sculptor.

"I will tell you," replied his friend. "Make a crack in it, and then people will realize that it is not a real horse, but a grand piece of art."

And so, with a heavy heart, the sculptor did indeed chisel a split across one side of the horse. The result was immediate; people stopped everyday to marvel at the work of art that had been there - taken for granted - all along.


This same scenario occurred when God took the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt. For centuries the world had witnessed the phenomena of nature. Grass grew, cows grazed, brooks flowed and seas surged - and mankind forgot that it was only by the grace of God that nature took its course every day. And so He made a tumultuous split in the Sea of Reeds, which reverberated around the world.

Reprinted with permission from InnerNet.org.il.

 

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