2-½ minutes to read
Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Va’eschanan – Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11
Any golfer can tell you it takes a bagful of clubs to play an effective game. You need woods to hit long distances. Use irons for short and approach shots. And you make your money with a putter. As they say, “Drive for show, putt for dough.” There are golfers who play an entire course with just a driver. But they’ll play better with a complete set. The same goes for prayer. Parshas Va’eschanan shows one of 10 ways to reach G-d:
“And I implored to G-d at that time…” (Deuteronomy/Devarim 3:23)
This Sabbath’s parsha begins with Moses begging G-d to change His decree and let him enter the land of Israel. Then Moses exhorts the Israelites to keep G-d’s commandments. He sets the example by setting aside Cities of Refuge. Next Moses reviews the Ten Commandments and teaches the people the Shema prayer. Finally, Moses urges the people that rather than succumbing to prosperity they should diligently teach their children about the Exodus from Egypt and to follow the Torah.
How to Reach God
You know that how you talk to someone can affect the response you receive. Not as obvious is that the way you communicate impacts yourself. If you talk about a happy event with your shoulders slumped and your head hanging down it won’t feel as positive. If you sing to yourself when you’re sad, it can brighten your day.
The way you communicate with the Almighty shapes the nature and power of your prayer. The Midrash, a compendium of commentary on the Torah, lists 10 expressions of prayer:
- Pleading. You turn to God and make an articulate plea for release from a difficult situation.
- Crying Out. Like pleading, but rather than being comprehensible words the prayer is a wordless cry from your heart.
- Moaning. Deeper than crying out, your expression of pain reaches God as an appeal for help.
- Singing. You sing God’s praises for His blessing of good times. Or you intone words of solace in His support when life challenges you.
- Entreaty. You repeat a request, even when you think the Almighty has said no. It demonstrates your belief that at any time God can help you.
- Self-Fortification. Praying just to connect with the Creator during challenging times.
- Calling Out. You call to God by name acknowledging He stands ready to help at any moment.
- Falling Down. You need not physically collapse. Rather, you rid yourself of pride. You adopt an attitude of mental and spiritual humility that all control is in God’s hands.
- Praying. Basic speaking with the Almighty that recognizes He embodies truth.
- Imploring. Beseeching God to grant your petition while recognizing you do not merit it.
You can learn to communicate better with your spouse and children. Many classes are available. Unfortunately rarely will you find training to connect better with the Creator.
Learning more than one expression of prayer will help you reach God in ways previously unavailable to you. Practice one of these modes before you need it. Can you articulate the words of a plea or song? Can you focus your despair into a cry or a moan? Can your muster enough stamina to entreat? Can you subdue your ego long enough to fall down?
You may have worked hard to learn a second language. Doing so probably brought you greater business or social opportunities. Untroubled, you may not see a good reason for mastering multiple ways to connect with God. Remember, He always responds to your prayers. But the answer you get may depend on the expression you use.
Despite his lofty status, Moses used every form of prayer to connect with the Almighty. Follow his example. Next time you really need Him, be prepared to reach God.
How many expressions of prayer do you use now? Please comment below.
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!