Conducting Eternity

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In this week’s parsha we see the slow unfolding of the divine plan.  For reasons that remain somewhat mysterious, God wanted the Jewish people to descend to Egypt and to begin the slow process of slavery and redemption. As part of this master plan, He had Yosef sold as a slave in Egypt and saw to it that Yosef rose to rulership.  Yosef’s dreams from earlier in life led him to hide his true identity from his brothers and to orchestrate events such that the entire family would relocate to Egypt. Without removing moral agency from any of the actors, God, through the brothers and Yosef, acts as the grand conductor of a long orchestra, ensuring that the story continues in accordance with His plan for history. 

In this sense, it is fascinating that the Hebrew word for conductor, (menatzei’ach) is etymologically related to the word for “eternity” (netzach).  A good conductor plays certain notes at the beginning of a musical piece as a means of developing themes that will only be fully disclosed at the end of the piece.  The better the conductor, the longer his vision and the more prefiguring and development will be integrated into his work.  

Therefore, God, as the ultimate conductor, has eternity in His sight.  His master plan spans from the beginning of time until the end of time.  God has a clear destination for His world and all events of history are means of slowing moving things forward for this vision to reach fruition. This conducting of the overall plan of history links to yet a third association of the word “netzach” – victory or mastery.  God’s conducting of history cannot fail as He alone is the Master of the world and all else bends to His will.  God’s ultimate vision will surely come to fruition.

With this in mind, we can discover a deeper understanding of the Gemara’s association of Yerushalayim with eternity: “HaNetzach – this refers to Yerushalayim.” Yerushalayim represents the ultimate destination of the  Jewish people and world history.  It is God’s main resting place on earth.  Therefore, as a conductor, God orchestrates all events of history towards “netzach/eternity” – or Yerushalayim. 

Also, it is from Yerushalayim that God’s grand mastery over history will be revealed. At the end of time, when God’s presence and dominion is palpably felt in Yerushayim we will gain the clarity to understand how God was in complete control of history at every moment, slowly pushing it in the direction of its culmination in Yerushalayim.

May this ultimate moment come soon.

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