Monday, June 6, 2011
Shaleeakh - Beha'alot'cha "When you set up"
When HaShem delivered, the Children of Yisrael from Egyptian bondage the Children of Yisrael were not prepared to enter the Promised Land. To enter the Promised Land, Yisrael needed to learn to walk by faith. Walking by faith would require them to trust HaShem for all their provisions. To teach the Children of Yisrael to trust Him, HaShem gradually brought them to the spiritual level needed to possess the Promised Land as Devarim 7:22 states"The LORD your God will put out those nations before you little by little: you may not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon you." The slow and gradual process allowed the Children of Yisrael to learn how to overcome small spiritual struggles, before they encountered spiritual struggles that overwhelmed them. For this training process HaShem led the Children of Yisrael into the wilderness of Sinai. In the wilderness of Sinai HaShem taught two of the most important aspects of faith. He taught the Children of Yisrael to remember His deeds and be content with what He provided.
Remembering that HaShem is always faithful is crucial to having a strong faith. To remind us, HaShem established times for remembering past miracles. When we remember HaShem's past miracles we are taught that we can trust Him in the future. Therefore, remembering the past encourages us to believe in the future. Encouraging the Children of Yisrael to believe in the future, is one reason HaShem commanded them to celebrate the Passover in the wilderness of Sinai. Bamidbar 9:1-3 states "the LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Yisrael also keep the Passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it." Keeping the Passover in the second year of freedom demonstrated to the Children of Yisrael that in the future HaShem was going to lead them to the Promised Land.
Remembering past miracles, makes us aware that HaShem is constantly providing for us and preparing us. Rav Shaul understood the importance of remembering the past miracles of HaShem as a way to strengthen faith. 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 states "when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." Remembrance is one of the most effective tools HaShem uses to strengthen our faith. HaShem prepared the Children of Yisrael to inherit the Promised Land by requiring them to observe Passover before leaving the wilderness of Sinai and resuming their journey. HaShem prepares us in a similar way. HaShem reminds us that He delivered our forefathers. Therefore, our faith is strengthened, and we know HaShem will deliver us in the future.
Contentment with what HaShem has already provided is also critical for a strong faith. The reason that contentment is important is because contentment frees us from the bondage of strife that comes with our desire to change things around us. In other words contentment allows us to surrender every circumstance to HaShem. Bamidbar 11:4-6 which states "the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes." The Yisraelites became discontent with the manna that HaShem had provided. As a result, they were ready to give up their deliverance from Egypt. Their desire to return to the bondage of Egypt undermined their faith. How could HaShem lead the Children of Yisrael into the Promised Land when they wanted to return to Egypt? Discontentment weakened Yisrael's faith. As a result, the Children of Yisrael became ineffective and were not able to trust fully. Contentment teaches individuals to accept the situation and serve HaShem despite the problems that we encounter.
Walking by faith requires us to build our faith on a foundation of remembrance and contentment. Remembrance of what HaShem has accomplished in the past reaffirms our faith and connects us to miracles HaShem has provided for His people through out History. By remembering what HaShem has accomplished in the past we are prepared to trust Him for future provisions. Being contented is also required for our walk of faith. When we become discontent we become ineffective and unable to serve HaShem, because we are constantly struggling with our circumstances. As a result, we become fearful and want to turn from the mission HaShem has set before us. Philippians 4:11 states it this way "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Remembering HaShem's provisions of the past and being contented in our present situation teaches us to remain faithful regardless of the circumstances we experience.
By Rabbi Yaakov benYosef ABOUT-Torah.org© 2010 About Torah