The parsha for this Sabbath is Shoftim. In it Moses reviews the commandment to establish courts, how to handle certain crucial types of cases, the appointing of a King, the gifts for the Priests, how to tell if someone is really a prophet, setting up cities of refuge, how the Israelites will conduct war, and what to do about an unsolved murder.
Vividly do I remember when I was trying to join the navy Chaplain Corps and was not making any progress. The question that loomed largest was: How do I know when it is G-d’s will? Consulting with a friend more learned than me he said, “when you have tried everything and have no strength left then you can place your reliance in G-d.” Once I internalized his wisdom the rest of the process went much more smoothly.
When faced with a great challenge, it is tempting to put your faith in G-d. By why should He help if you are unwilling to commit deeply to your own growth and success? Here is the key to connecting completeness to wholeheartedness. Once your heart, mind, and soul are totaling invested in your pursuit, then you will be most likely to connect with the Almighty and in turn merit His assistance.
As well, if you chose not to avail yourself of the advantages of contemporary life, how can you expect to receive the Creator’s grace?
Once Rabbi Yaacov Yisrael Kanievsky, better known as the Steipler, was told about a man who needed a serious operation but refused, saying he had bitachon, trust in G-d. The great sage replied that this person had not mastered trusting in G-d, he was just afraid. Trusting in the Almighty should not be used as an excuse for laziness or irresponsibility to yourself or loved ones. You are obligated to make hishtadlus, human effort, in order to receive G-d’s blessing.
This can be seen at the parting of the Reed Sea. The Children of Israel were trapped between the advancing Egyptian army and the water. Not until Nachshon walked into the sea up to his nose did it split. How much more fortunate are we that G-d rarely requires us to get to the point that we think we may drown before he helps us.
Question – How do you decide when to trust in G-d and when to work harder?
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Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.
What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!
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