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Weekly Chizuk

Parshas Vayeira

Throw Your Burden onto Hashem

And the water in the skin finished, and she threw the child under one of the trees. (Bereishis 21:15)

An excerpt from my sefer Trust Me!

Adapted from Shomer Emunim, Ma'amar Ha-Bitachon v'Hischazkus, ch. 6, note 30, quoting the book Divrei Yechezkel.

Citing the holy Rav of Lublin zt"l as his source, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe zt"l once commented on the fact that Hagar threw Yishmael "under one of the trees." How was it possible that she could abandon her beloved son - whom she was privileged to bear through her union with Avraham Avinu himself - in such a cruel and callous fashion?

In reality, the Torah is hinting at something very deep here. Hagar was in desperate straits, with no hope but to turn to the Almighty in fervent

supplication. After praying with all her might, she was absolved of all responsibility to take action to save the child, and she threw the burden on Hashem. This is the meaning of "she threw the child under one of the trees." In other words, she pinned all her hopes for the boy's salvation on the Almighty.

This is a valuable lesson for us when we offer our own prayers. Once we have prayed with all our might, we should throw our burden on Hashem.

* * *

The Gemara (Megillah 18a) records that the Sages didn't know the meaning of the word which appears in the verse: " " - "Throw your yehav on Hashem" (Tehillim 55:23). But an incident that involved Rabbah bar bar Chanah enlightened them. Rabbah bar bar Chanah was once traveling with an Arab in the desert, and the Arab said to him, "Take your yehav and put it on my camel." The Rabbis then understood that this meant "burden" and that the verse in Tehillim was saying, "Throw your burden on Hashem."

On the surface, this Gemara seems nothing more than a lesson in translation. However, the Vilna Gaon, in his perush to Maseches Brachos, tells that it actually contains a profound lesson in bitachon.

The Rabbis didn't know the extent of bitachon: How much should a person exert himself to achieve a desired goal, and how much should he rely on the Almighty? The verse in Tehillim seemed to provide the answer, but they weren't sure of its interpretation. The Arab helped them answer the question. When a person throws his burden on a camel, he no longer feels its weight, because he is no longer bearing it.

Thus it is with bitachon in Hashem. As long as a person feels the least amount of anxiety concerning his livelihood, it is a sign that he has not thrown his bundle of worries on the Almighty. Bitachon means that a person feels no weight of worry at all regarding his needs, because he realizes that Hashem will take care of everything.

A simple villager was trekking several miles toward his home, staggering under the weight of an enormous pack. Suddenly, a horse and wagon pulled up alongside him. "Climb aboard!" the driver called out to him. The villager huffed and puffed his way up onto the wagon, the driver shook his reins, and the horse obediently set off.

A few miles down the road, the grateful passenger said to the driver, "I can't thank you enough. This is really very kind of you."

"Not at all," said the wagoner, as he turned to smile at the man seated in the back of the wagon. It was then that he noticed that the villager was sitting crumpled forward with his heavy pack still on his back. The wagoner exclaimed, "Why haven't you taken your pack off?!"

The villager replied in all innocence, "Well, you've been so kind carrying me, I didn't want to burden you with the extra weight of my pack as well."

Gut Shabbos!

Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
4 Panim Meirot, Jerusalem 94423 Israel
Tel: 732-858-1257
Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop Lakewood).
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