Human beings have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge… an insatiable appetite for answers and knowing and understanding.
We just want TO KNOW… and ideally, know for sure. Okay, so maybe that’s just me… But I am sure it is a lot of you, too.
And at times, while propelling me to read and study and move deeper into Judaism… this need… this yearning… this desire for certainty, also acts as a huge barrier.
You mean, you want me to so completely trust Hashem, that no matter what happens, I have to believe with all of my heart and soul and might that it is the way it is supposed to be? That there are reasons I cannot possibly understand? That I need to have complete faith in the notion that Hashem knows what’s best for me, even if I cannot see it at the moment?
That is giving oneself over to quite a lot… to admitting that we are NOT in control…
Not at all easy… but it is the true path from faith to Emunah to Bitachon.
And Ah Ha!!! Guess what??? We are NOT in control. There is something bigger than all of us… bigger than EVERYTHING…
I’m trying… really trying to embrace this fully and all the way… And one thing that recently came up, more than once in fact… And by the way, I love how when you learn something for the first time, it seems to pop up in several places at once! No coincidence of course… Just G-d’s way of remaining anonymous. (Thanks, Rabbi Bistritzky)
So the one thing that is putting it into perspective is this… And if it was good enough for Moses, who am I to argue.
In Exodus, Chapter 33 (18-23):
Moses said to G-d: Show me, now, Your glory!
Hashem answered: I will let all My goodness pass before you; I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you, and I will favor when I wish to favor, and I will have compassion when I wish to have compassion.”
And He said, “You will not be able to see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.”
And the Lord said: “Behold, there is a place with Me, and you shall stand on the rock.
And it shall be that when My glory passes by, I will place you into the cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by.
Then I will remove My hand, and you will see My back but My face shall not be seen.”
So Rashi says that even Moses would not be able to grasp the essence of G-d, only His attributes and His deeds.
I guess it’s like the head exploding/face melting scene in Raiders Of The Lost Ark… that the might and power is too much for Man… even someone as elevated as Moses.
The more practical consensus seems to be this… that it is only AFTER the fact that you can truly understand why G-d does or did certain things… That ‘ol crazy hindsight is way MORE than 20/20.
And… that it is also possible that we may never know, at least in this lifetime… And we need to trust in that.
Breathe… take that one in… It’s a big one. Maybe the biggest one.
So how does one get there?
Connection. Connection to Hashem.
And we are given this opportunity three times a day… though prayer.
Once we realize that prayer is not a laundry list of what we want, but a way to connect… we will all be so much richer for it.
As I have said before, what having a Fear of G-d now means to me is not to cower in a corner… but to be afraid of losing my connection to Hashem… of behaving in a way that I might damage my relationship(s)… that everything I do has a consequence…
So for me, the morning prayer especially… (And no, I am not up to three times a day…) is the opportunity to thank Hashem for another day… To praise… To appreciate and yes… To ask.
Does Hashem know what I want? Of course! But when I ask for things… especially out loud… it also allows me to put them in some kind of perspective… to work things out in my own mind… to make sure these are things I really do want.
When I was studying with my Partners In Torah mentor, Jason… and we were going through Strive For Truth, we actually learned that Hashem stopped Moses from asking for something because He knew if Moses asked, He would have to give it to him…
But here’s the thing… Hashem knows what’s best… and even though we may not be able to see that in our current state… or in our current moment and position… He does.
Like Shlomo Seidenfeld says… there are three responses to prayer:
2) Not yet…
3) I have something better!
Hashem passes by us every single day. He is all around us… all the time. And even though we might not see His face… we see His hand… His deeds… and His back.
“Cast your burden upon Hashem and he will support you.”
And some day… SOMEDAY… perhaps we will see all that we missed. But for now, we must have Faith in knowing that Hashem knows what is best for each and every one of us.
We gotta have faith. (Cue George Michael!)