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Shevi'i Shel Pesach

The Sages compare a person's sustenance and his shidduchim (marriage partner) to the splitting of the Reed Sea (Pesachim 118a; Sanhedrin 22a). What is the comparison?

The sefer Chaim Sheyaish Bahem brings an explanation from the Rebbe, Rabbi Bunim of Parshischa, ztvk"l.

When the Israelites were trapped before the Sea, the Egyptians behind them and the waters before them, they hoped for a miracle. What they expected was that perhaps the Egyptians would suddenly retreat, for some unknown reason; or, perhaps Hashem would strengthen their hands and they would be successful in battle against their adversaries; or something else along these lines. They certainly never even imagined that Hashem would split the Sea and take them across on dry land. Yet, that's exactly what He did.

Similarly, a person has all kinds of plans and exerts himself in all kinds of ways to gain his sustenance and his proper shidduch. In the end, he is amazed to see that Hashem provides him with his needs through ways which he never conceived of. It's not for us to direct Hashem how to help us. We only have to turn to Him for help and leave the methods of delivery for Him to choose.

I once heard a great allegory from Reb Aryeh Shechter. A woman was cleaning for Pesach before the holiday and was expecting a big grocery delivery shortly. She had spent everything she had and had borrowed way beyond her limit; yet she was still fifty dollars short of paying the bill she would soon be presented with. Nevertheless, she wasn't the least bit worried. With uncanny calmness, she went about her work with absolute faith and trust that Hashem would provide her with the funds she needed in time. The only question in her mind was: How.

Singing happy holiday songs while vacuuming, this trusting woman began to formulate a modus operandi for getting her Pesach grant. Finally, she addressed the Almighty, with whom she felt she had a personal relationship. "Hashem," she said, "I have no doubt at all that you will send me the fifty dollars that I need for the holidays. The only question is, how. There isn't that much time left, since the grocery order should be arriving within an hour or two. So I came up with a plan for You. In about an hour, I should be cleaning the refrigerator. I haven't cleaned the freezer compartment since the hot summer days. So, when I take out the tray of ice cubes; that would be a perfect place for the fifty dollar bill to lie. Right underneath the tray. O.K., Hashem? Is that clear? You place the money under the tray of ice cubes and I'll find it there soon and pay for the groceries for Pesach."

The woman was very happy with her plan and continued cleaning to the music of a lively cassette she put into the tape player. She had no doubt that Hashem would go along with her plan and she would find the money in the right place, at the right time.

After about half an hour though, the housewife realized that she was a bit behind schedule and was not going to get to the ice box until the next day. That being the case, her plan was futile. She put her brain back to work and before long she was talking to her Creator again. "Hashem, I just realized that my plan is not so good after all. You see, I won't be doing the fridge until tomorrow and the delivery is coming tonight. So I came up with another plan. In about half an hour, I'll definitely be doing the bedroom. I haven't moved the heavy dresser since last Erev Pesach. So when I push away that piece, right behind it, between the furniture and the wall; there should lay the fifty dollar bill. Have You got it, Hashem? Remember. Forget about the other plan. We're working on another plan now. The fifty dollar bill should not be under the ice cubes but behind the dresser. And, by the way, thank You very much!"

Our heroine continued with her work, totally confident in her new plan. She knew that in about half an hour she would surely find a fifty dollar bill behind the heavy dresser in her bedroom. The only question that lurked in the back of her mind was what if the delivery boy comes before then. But she didn't let that thought disturb her holiday mood. Surely everything would turn out for the best, she assured herself.

About five minutes later, the woman realized that lots of garbage had accumulated. She grabbed a few bags and carried them out to the community trash bin in the yard. She picked up the lid to the garbage can and, to her amazement, a fifty dollar bill stared her in the face. Flabbergasted, she lifted her eyes to the Heavens and said, "Hashem, look at that. Your plan is even better than mine!"

The moral of the story, said Reb Aryeh, is that we don't have to teach Hashem how to do things. His plans are far superior to ours. We just have to have faith and trust in Him and we will surely be happy in this world and in the World-to-Come.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel