Ma'aminim Bnei Ma'aminim
"Abba, can you please help me with my homework?"
"My pleasure, Chaim. What do you need?"
"The Rebbe asked us to come up with a plan to strengthen our emunah."
"That is quite an undertaking, Chaim. Emunah is a lifelong project. However, we have an excellent example from this week's parasha."
"What is it Abba?"
"The mun. The Bnei Yisrael left Mitzraim with enough food to last for one month. Then they began to get hungry. They complained to Moshe and Aharon. Hashem responded by sending down the mun. Here is how He describes it. 'I am going to rain down food for you from Heaven. The people shall go out and collect each day's portion on that day, so that I can test them, whether they will follow My teaching or not' (Shemos 16:4)."
"Food from Heaven. That sounds great, Abba. No one had to work for his food. What was the test?"
"We have to examine the situation, Chaim. The Bnei Yisrael were two million people in the desert, with no food whatsoever. Without this food from Heaven, they would all die very painfully in a short period of time. They were totally dependent on an open miracle from Hashem to sustain their lives. You can only imagine their joy when the mun came down for them - ready to eat."
"It saved their lives. They must have been eager to gather as much as possible."
"Exactly, Chaim, and therein lay the test. They were commanded only to gather only one day's portion. If they did not obey and took extra, it would rot overnight."
"We have no concept of that, Abba. We are not in a barren desert. We have a store at the corner that is well stocked with every kind of food. When Imma goes to the store, she buys at least enough food for a week. We put it in the pantry and the refrigerator, and eat it as we need it."
"Very good, Chaim. Can you imagine life with no stores, no pantry, and no refrigeration? That means no source of food, and no way to store up any supplies. Multiply that by two million people in an unlivable desert. They were completely dependent on open miracles."
"Why did Hashem put them in such a situation? He could have led them through an inhabited land, where there were provisions."
"The Ramban explains exactly that point, Chaim. The only food that they had was this bread from Heaven, just a daily portion each day. This was a test for them, for their ultimate good, in order that they would have emunah in Hashem forever. Each day they would finish all of their food, and look up to Heaven, hoping that The Almighty would be kind to them and feed them tomorrow. They learned to ask Him for sustenance each day, and thank Him when it came. In this way, they came to trust and believe in Him."
"That is a real lesson in emunah, Abba."
"Yes Chaim. We still benefit from it. It was implanted so strongly within our souls, that we are called "ma'aminim bnei ma'aminim" (believers descended from believers). We have the emunah within us, we only have to awaken it and strengthen it. Study this parasha of the mun every day. Think about how our food also comes from Hashem. Pray to him for sustenance every day, and thank Him when it comes. This is a plan to strengthen your emunah, Chaim."
"Thank you Abba!"
Kinderlach . . .
When Imma puts a yummy meal in front of you, think for a moment. Where did that food come from? The store. Where did the owner get it from? Ultimately from the farmer. Who made his crops grow? Who gave his vegetables the water they need? Who gave him the feed for his chickens and cows? Hashem. He is The Provider of everything. When you make your blessing before eating, remember that Hashem created this food, and brought it before you, delicious and ready to eat. Thank Him. Pray to Him and ask Him to continue giving you food. This is the way to strengthen your emunah, kinderlach. Remember, we are "ma'aminim bnei ma'aminim."
The Day of Emunah
"Safeguard the Shabbos to sanctify it, as Hashem, your G-d has commanded you" (Devarim 5: 12). This verse is from the passage that reviews the Aseres HaDibros, in parashas Voeschanan. Why does it add the words, "as Hashem, your G-d has commanded you?" Rashi answers that the Bnei Yisrael were commanded to observe the Shabbos at Mara, before Matan Torah. The Bnei Yisrael came to Mara three days after Kriyas Yam Suf. It was their first stop after witnessing the awesome miracles at the sea. The Auruch HaShulchan (Orach Chaim 242:1) relates that this was the perfect time to receive the mitzvah of Shabbos. Why?
Hashem Himself sanctified the seventh day from the very beginning of creation. "Hashem blessed the seventh day and sanctified it" (Bereshis 2:3). Its holiness and blessing is greater than any other day. It is also a remembrance of the act of creation. Klal Yisrael, His Holy Nation, are the ones entrusted with keeping the Shabbos. Every Shabbos, we refrain from melacha, and by doing so we demonstrate that Hashem created the universe.
The miracles of Yetzias Mitzraim, which culminated in Kriyas Yam Suf, proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that Hashem is running the world. He is The Mashgiach of everything. This was the pinnacle of emunah. Therefore, three days later was the perfect time to lay down another cornerstone in the foundation of emunah. The knowledge that The Almighty created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh is equal in weight to the whole Torah. One who violates the Shabbos is compared to an idol worshipper. Therefore, the observance of Shabbos is both a testimony, and a method to strengthen our emunah in Hashem's creation of the world.
Kinderlach . . .
We have a very important job. To testify that Hashem created the world. How do we do this? By guarding the holiness of Shabbos. Learn the halachos well and review them. It is a lifetime study. Your emunah will grow along with your knowledge. You will find your observance of Shabbos improving. You will also notice an increase in your appreciation of the kedusha of Shabbos. And you may also notice an increase in the blessing from the Shabbos. What a wonderful gift Hashem has given us!
Why did Yosef not command his sons to bury him in Eretz Yisrael? (Rashi 13:19)
Why did Hashem harden Paroh's heart to chase after Bnei Yisrael? (14:4 and Rashi)
What did the enemy want to do to Klal Yisrael? (15:9)
Who was terrified from Kriyas Yam Suf? Why? (15:15,16 and Rashi)
What happened in Mara? (15:22-26)
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