Farming, says the Talmud, is an act of faith. The farmer invests a great deal of effort and expense to plow the land and prepare it for sowing. Then he casts grain into the soil, where it will rot and decompose. Why does he do this? Because he believes in the "Vivifier of the World" — that G‑d will make the land yield many times the quantity of his investment.

This statement, of course, begs the question: Are there no atheist farmers? The utility of plowing and sowing is a matter of experience: countless generations of farmers have sown and profited from their toil. Why does the act of farming demonstrate ones faith in G‑d any more than the other endeavors, great and small, of human life?

When G‑d created the world, He established certain laws which delineate the manner in which the world operates. The world, however, does not operate on its own: every event that transpires in it — from the birth of a child to a leaf turning in the wind-represents a direct and purposeful act of G‑d. So the laws of nature are not really laws at all, but divine behavior patterns. The consistency of these behavior patterns-only rarely does G‑d depart from them — when He does we call the event a miracle — creates the illusion of laws, as if there is some inherent necessity that things should continue to operate the way they have in the past. In truth, there exists no such inherent necessity, only the divine desire to continue acting upon the world in a manner consistent with these established patterns. If tomorrow the sun were to rise in the west and water were to begin to flow uphill, this would be no more or less miraculous than todays natural reality. The fact that G‑d has thus far chosen to make the sun rise in the east and water flow downhill in no way compels that He continue to do so.

This, of course, is a believer's perspective, the perspective of one who perceives a deeper, more basic reality than meets the eye or than can be dissected in the laboratory. To a more superficial eye, the laws of nature are axiomatic and immutable—laws that not only guarantee that a certain sequence of actions will produce wheat or put a human being on the moon, but which are also the last word on what is, will and ought to be in our world.

Our mission in life is to Know Him in all your ways-to recognize the divine essence of reality and to manifest this truth in everything we do. To live a life that is not subservient to the laws of nature but to their divine author. A life in which the natural reality is respected as the divine modus operandi, but is neither venerated nor awed. A life in which nature is not the dictator of life but the facilitator of lifes purpose to serve ones Creator.

By assuming this perspective and setting it as the guiding principle in everything we do, we penetrate the veil of nature and reveal the divine reality it conceals. Our every deed becomes an exercise in the revelation of G‑dliness, a demonstration of the subservience of nature and the all-pervasiveness of the Divine.

Every man has his own path through life, his own particular area of the veil to penetrate.

For the veil is not uniform, but contains patches of greater and lesser opacity. The world of the businessman, for example, is far less predictable than that of the assembly-line worker. The business that succeeds against all odds, or the deal that is born out of a dozen incredible coincidences, can be explained in such prosaic terms as market forces and statistical probability, but every businessman has encountered the hand of divine providence behind the monotony of natural law. By the same token, the brain-surgeons veil is more translucent than that of the dentist, and the physicist bores deeper than the civil engineer.

Therein lies the specialty of the faith of the farmer. The farmers contact is with the densest, most opaque part of the veil. He is slave to the weather, the contours of the land, the chemistry of the soil; he contends with nature in its rawest, most obstinate, most dictatorial incarnation. So when the farmer recognizes and acts upon the truth that it is the Vivifier of the World who answers his toil with sustenance, this represents the ultimate triumph of faith, the ultimate penetration of spiritual vision through the material haze.