This issue is sponsored
Vol. 23 No. 16
Yaakov Aharon ben Yissachar a"h
and Shaindel bas Michoel a"h
Some Thoughts on Parnosoh
"I have heard the complaints of the B'nei Yisrael" (16:12).
We can learn from here a). that when we Daven to Hashem for Parnasah, He answers - even when we do not ask in a nice way.
And b). that Hashem provides Parnasah directly (not through an angel). Perhaps that is why the Pasuk ends with the words - "and you shall know that I am Hashem your G-d".
This idea is borne out by the Gemara in Ta'anis (Daf 2a), which teaches us that although, in most matters, Hashem delegates the running of the world to Sheluchim, there are three keys over which He retains control - namely, those of rain, on which Parnasah depends, childbirth, and Techiyas ha'Meisim. The Medrash however, lists Parnasah independently. Based on the Medrash, the commentaries point out that the four keys are hinted in the word 'Mifte'ach' (key), the first letters of the words Mottor, Parnasah, Techiyah & Chayoh.
From the Torah's description of the Mon (in Pasuk 31), coupled with the fact that, as Rashi explains, it lay between two layers of dew, we see that Hashem provides our Parnasah with fondness and much love.
When the Torah describes (in Pasuk 15) how Yisrael were unable to discern what the Mon was, it suggests that Hashem provides Parnasah in a mysterious manner, in a way that we are not always able to fathom.
In Pesukim 16-18, the Torah informs us that everyone received the measure of an 'Omer', and that one neither gained nor lost by taking more or less. This teaches us that the Parnasah that Hashem fixes for each person on Rosh Hashanah for the year is what he will receive, and that, provided one makes the minimum-required Hishtadlus (just as the people in the desert had to go and collect the Mon), that is precisely what he will receive. Excess Hishtadlus will not increase his income!
And when, in Pasuk 19, Moshe instructed the people not to leave over until the morning, he was telling them that someone who has enough for today should not worry about tomorrow, since Hashem, who provided today, will also provide tomorrow. Indeed, Chazal say that someone who does so is lacking in Emunah
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the miracle of the Mon is the fact that nobody of that generation had any form of income; yet for forty years, each and every person received his daily portion without any Hishtadlus, except for having to collect it. That is why, in Pasuk 33, Hashem commanded Aharon to place a jar-full of Mon in the Kodesh Kodshim. As Rashi (in Pasuk 32) explains, many years later, the Navi Yirmiyahu reprimanded the people for not learning Torah. When they replied that they were too preoccupied with Parnasah to find time for that, he produced the jar of Mon, and reminded them how their ancestors had survived for forty years in the desert on the Mon, which Hashem had provided in His abundant kindness, assuring them that, if they took off a little time to study Torah, He would provide for them now as well.
* * *
Coming & Going
(Based on the Ba'al ha'Turim)
"And G-d said to Moshe 'Come to Par'oh' …" (10:1).
When G-d wanted Moshe to appear before Par'oh in his palace, He used the expression "Come to Par'oh", says the Ba'al ha'Turim, and when he wanted him to confront him by the water, He said "Go to Par'oh".
Interestingly, based on the Ba'al ha'Turim's rule, it transpires that, the warning prior to the first plague in the grouping of 'D'tzach', of 'Adash' and of 'Be'Ach'av' was said in Par'oh's palace and the second plague, it was said by the water (notwithstanding the fact that the Torah does not actually use the words 'come to Par'oh' by Orov and Borod).
Rashi in Parshas Vo'eiro (7:15), explains that Par'oh would go in the early morning to the Nile to relieve himself, to fool the world that he was a god, and did not therefore need to perform such mundane activities. Whereas, according to Targum Yonasan, he would go to the Nile to indulge in witchcraft. The above-mentioned sequence however, suggests that G-d was coming to teach Par'oh a lesson.
Perhaps G-d was warning Par'oh to acknowledge His (G-d's) superiority vis-?-vis both his position as the mighty ruler of Egypt and his claim to divinity ("My canal" [the Nile] - which the Egyptians worshipped - "is mine, and I created myself" [Yechezkel, 29]). G-d was about to demonstrate to Par'oh that He was the supreme master of the entire world, including the River Nile and including Par'oh. And if Par'oh would not accede to that of his own accord, he would learn it the hard way!
* * *
No Miracle for Every
Tom, Dick & Harry
"Hashem will fight for you, and you shall be silent!" (14:14).
In spite of the principle not to rely on miracles, G-d followed the miracles in Egypt, where Yisrael were no more than silent spectators, with the greatest miracle of all - the 'Splitting of the Reed Sea', only after issuing strict instructions that Yisrael refrain from hindering the miracle or from participating in it.
There were those among B'nei Yisrael who wanted to jump into the Sea, those who planned to clash their shields and work their horses into a frenzy to scare the enemy (common war tactics at that time), and there were those who had in mind to return to Egypt. But all of these G-d bade to be still and watch.
What caused G-d to break the golden rule - that a Jew must make a minimum effort before He finishes the job?
Rebbi Yisrael Salanter was once asked by an assimilated Jew from Memel (in Germany) why it is that G-d no longer performs open miracles?
The great Tzadik did not reply. The following year however, the same man proceeded to boast about his gifted daughter, who had won an advanced diploma in music. Rebbi Yisrael called her in and asked her to play for him, so that he could see for himself how talented she was. But the girl refused point blank - if the Rabbi wanted to find out about her talents, she would be happy to show him her diploma. But she would not demean herself by performing for every Tom, Dick and Harry who asked her to.
'You see', Rebbi Yisrael turned to the girl's father with a smile. 'Your daughter did not agree to put on a show; why should G-d?'
G-d too has a diploma, in which His unique ability is vividly described in great detail. It is all recorded there, and anyone who wants to know about His prowess, has but to study it and see for Himself. That diploma is sufficient to imbibe whoever studies it with Emunah and Yir'as Shamayim, and G-d is under no obligation to prove Himself further for every Tom, Dick and Harry. Indeed why should He, when the proof is there for all to see!
* * *
The original of the Pasuk that we discussed above reads "Hashem yilo-chem lochem, ve'atem tacharishun". This can also be translated as 'G-d will give you bread, but you must plough' - the very principle that the main translation is coming to negate.
As the old saying goes 'It's the exception that proves the rule!'
* * *