click BESHALACH 2020 for download


Parashat Beshalach

I know that this sounds ridiculous, but did you ever return G-d a favor? He did, does, and will always do, so much good for you and your family. Or is it just impossible to do G-d a favor, for He does not lack anything and does not need anything?

The Chida says that there is only one favor that you can do for G-d. And when you do this one thing, He will never forget it. כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְקֹוָ֔ק זָכַ֤רְתִּי לָךְ֙ חֶ֣סֶד נְעוּרַ֔יִךְ אַהֲבַ֖ת כְּלוּלֹתָ֑יִךְ לֶכְתֵּ֤ךְ אַחֲרַי֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר בְּאֶ֖רֶץ לֹ֥א זְרוּעָֽה: So said YKVK, I remembered for you the kindness of your youth, the love of the days you loved Me like a bride, you followed Me into the desert, through a barren land. (Yirmiyahu 2) G-d forever tells His People that He will never forget the kindness that they did for G-d! What was that kindness? That they trusted in G-d, when it seemed as if He had no goods to supply. G-d compared this to a bride who out of her love to her husband, she followed him, and trusted him, that he would provide her needs. Trust, belief and faith are the only kindness one can do for G-d. (See Chida in Homat Anach ibid.)

At times, we have nothing to give those who are suffering, who lack, who are down and depressed. But the most significant kindness we can offer them is that we believe in them, that they will figure things out, and make it work, somehow. The Midrash tells us a fantastic story. There was a time in King Solomon’s life when Ashmedai, King of Demons, overpowered him to leave his palace and live in a faraway place, without his royal clothing and entourage. Due to King Solomon’s state of poverty, no one recognized him. This situation lasted for quite a while, and one time he met an old friend who was very wealthy, who invited him over for a meal, a meal deserving for kings. During lunch, this old friend opened a discussion. “Remember how things were when you were on top of the world?” These words made King Solomon so sad that he lost his appetite! He could not even swallow the bread, because the tears that drenched his face!

The next day, King Solomon met a poor man who recognized him and invited him over to a pitiful meal, with little to offer. Throughout the meal, however, he consoled King Solomon, saying, “The day will come when you will return to your throne, and everything will turn out for the best! G-d promised your father, David, that royalty would remain with his descendants. Your state is temporary. G-d is just rebuking you, and waiting for you to amend your wrongdoings…” This is the meaning of King Solomon’s words, ט֤וֹב אֲרֻחַ֣ת יָ֭רָק וְאַהֲבָה־שָׁ֑ם מִשּׁ֥וֹר אָ֝ב֗וּס וְשִׂנְאָה־בֽוֹ Better a meal of herbs where there is love, than an Entrecote steak where there is hatred. (Mishlei 15; 17) (Midrash Mishlei 15;17)

What did this man do for King Solomon? He just gave a hungry King Solomon some rabbit food, lettuce and a carrot!? True. But he did the greatest kindness. He believed in the poor king.

We are all created in G-d’s image, and that means a lot of things. One of the things it means is that a human being needs that people believe in him/her. People want four things. They want to be understood, respected, and liked. But more than anything, people want and sometimes need, others to believe in them.

Our Rabbis teach that anyone who says the blessing גאל ישראל before praying the Amidah prayer is promised great things. Satan will not prosecute him that whole day. According to R’ Yochanan, this ensures one to merit Olam Haba!! (Berachot 4b)

Why is it so great to recognize that G-d is the One who redeemed us from Egypt, before our prayers? What is the importance of this? How can this seemingly meaningless order in prayer, promise one Olam Haba?

Rabbenu Yonah answers that by recognizing that G-d redeemed us from Egypt before asking G-d our requests, one shows that he trusts in G-d. Recognizing G-d as our Redeemer, is the basis for Bitachon, trust in G-d. And Bitachon is the basis for fear and faith in Him. Trusting in G-d is what will give you Olam Haba! It must be the only favor you can ever do for G-d!

This is the essence of all our prayers and an express, first class ticket to Olam Haba. It is putting your faith and trust in G-d into practice. The greatest kindness we can do for G-d is to forever trust His message to us.  I will answer you. I will be with you. I will not fail you. I will provide for you. I will give you serenity. I will strengthen you. I believe in you. I love you. At this very moment, G-d is your personal Redeemer גואל ישראל. (See Rashi Meggilah 17b אתחלתא)

According to Judaism, G-d does not need our prayers to save us from our challenges, concerns, and issues. According to Judaism, G-d brings us challenges, concerns, and issues because he wants our prayers. He wants us to be kind to him, via trusting in Him. He wants us to do Him a favor, through believing in Him that if we would pray, He could save the day.

G-d returns this favor. He believes in us that we will ace our purpose in this world, so He keeps us around. אֵ֤ל אֱמוּנָה֙ (Devarim 32) When you believe in the people in your life, that they will somehow find their way, you give them infinite strength. Mordechai’s trust in Esther, his belief in her, gave her the power to keep the secret of her religion from King Achashverosh. כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר הָיְתָ֥ה בְאָמְנָ֖ה אִתּֽוֹ(Esther 2, according to one opinion, see Ibn Ezra)

So how do we show others that we believe in them? Here are the selfie steps.

  • Tell them how great you vision them in the future, not how low they are at the moment.
  • Recognize the G-dliness in them. Even without resources, people have an inner trait called resourcefulness. Resourcefulness is the ability to come up with solutions when it does not seem that there are any.
  • Let them know their strengths. Let them know all the good things they have done. And show them how even their weaknesses, are the blessings of G-d in disguise.
  • Believe in the power of believing. (see Taanit 8a)

About the author, Yosef

Leave a Comment