middot order daily living order in the face of chaos

order in the face of chaos

Written by  rebbetzin malkah

art-minersLuis Urzua has played a special role in this drama [Chilean mine ordeal]. He is credited with having kept the miners together back in August when there was no hope in sight.  When the rescue mission was planned, he chose to be the last miner out. Mr Urzua, 54, known respectfully as Don Lucho by the miners, kept them going for those awful first 17 days, when no one up above even knew they had survived. "For a miner, their shift leader is sacred and holy," rescue official Dr Andreas Llarena told the UK's Guardian newspaper. "They would never think about replacing him. That is carved in stone; it is one of the commandments in the life of a miner."            -- bbc.co.uk 10/13/2010

As I write this, it is one day after the Chilean miner's rescue operation has been successfully completed.  My heart was pained for months over the plight of these men, who found themselves periously trapped over two thousand feet below the surface after an accident back in early August.  The initial rescue estimation given by experts, if they could reach them, was expected to take four months.  As I watched the final miner be brought to the surface in what was truly a miracle last evening, besides the hand of G-d being evident, I witnessed that there was a human element that also was lifesaving to the miners: order.


In the beginning of this tragedy, the miners experienced darkness.  For 17 days, they were in utter darkness.  In the face of chaos, however, there was order.  In a scriptural sense, we are told that in the absence of light, there is chaos.  In the beginning of the story of Creation in Genesis, it is only when Hashem creates light that we see chaos dismissed and order has its place.

Luis Urzua realized in his human capacity that he had a duty. He gave hope when there was none, and he created order in the midst of chaos. As Luis was a remarkable leader, rationing food, guiding the men, enouraging exercise and boosting morale, he was also in the midst of this crisis as well.  To keep the crisis from spinning even more out of control, he used the tools at his disposal to maintain as normal of an environment as possible.  He was still in charge, and he commanded the men as such.  He didn't crumble in the face of adversity; instead, he continued to hold his position and lead the men, even when there was no physical light in their presence.  In the darkest of circumstances, he stood fast and thus, through his order, he provided light.

follow the leader

At the same time, however, the miners deserve to be honored.  They are commendable, for they cooperated and worked in order all throughout the sixty-nine days they were trapped below the surface.  They did not waver in their steadfastness to follow their leader - they accepted the position endowed upon their leader and remained faithful to it.  Had they wavered, had they risen up, had someone thought "his" idea was better than their team leader, chaos would have taken over and they might not have survived.  As important as the leader was in this situation, and all situations, so too is the responsibility of those around the leader to heed and follow. 

order does not trivialize

As there are those in charge, there are those who must follow. Order does not mean that any component involved is insignificant; for as the second hand helps the minute hand to progress, so too the minute hand's progression leads to the changing of the hour.  If we view all of our roles as significant in the Divine economy, no matter what they may be, then we can function in whatever capacity is given to us and bring about positive fruit. 

As the Talmud quotes: “Fish die when they are out of water, and people die without law and order.”

These men are heroes because they were an orderly, obedient and courageous example, despite the odds. They played their roles according to the script handed to them; because of their willingness to remain in rank, they not only increased their chances for success but brought peace in their midst as well.

May we be inspired by their example and follow the truest leader, Mashiach Yeshua.  He leads us in the way to live a more ordered, holy existence through Torah for the sake of Heaven, that we may indeed have true life.

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