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Some Timely Advice

I heard from my Rebby, shlita, that the Mashgiach of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim, Harav Hatzaddik Reb Michal Birnbaum zt"l, would tell his students, every year, not to make the mistake, on Rosh Hashanah, of the elderly widow. Finding herself without support, since her husband had died a few month before, she turned to the Almighty, on the Judgment Day, and said, "Hashem, please provide me with parnassah (livelihood) this coming year. Because if You don't, then I'll have no choice but to go live with my sister on the Beach Shore!"

Reb Michal would explain the fallacy in the unfortunate woman's prayer indicating that if, G-d forbid, Hashem does not provide for her needs, she has an alternative approach - a "Plan B" - on how to get along for the rest of her life. That is a big mistake which could be very counter productive. A person has to believe totally that when he or she stands before the True Judge, on the Days of Awe, everything he wants and needs is totally and absolutely in the Hands of our Creator. Health, wealth, even Life itself, are all granted by Him and only Him. If, chas veshalom, He does not bestow us with His blessings, then we have nowhere else to turn to and from no one else to get them.

If someone does not realize that he is totally dependent upon Hashem, and entertains, even deep down in his heart, some slight notion that he has someone or something else to rely on, like his business investments, or his doctor or lawyer, not realizing that they are all only shelichim (emissaries) of the Almighty, then Hashem may say to him, "Let them stand and help you! Let them be a shelter for you" (Devarim 32:38). Because believing that one can be helped in any other way, independent of Hashem, is tantamount to idolatry.

Therefore it is imperative, before Rosh Hashanah, that we remind ourselves and internalize the Torah's vital message. "See, now, that I, I am He -- and no god is with Me. I put to death and I bring life, I struck down and I will heal, and there is no rescuer from My hand" (ibid. 39). When we turn to Hashem Alone and express our total dependence upon Him, believing that only He is our source of salvation, then can we hope that He will smile at us and grant our wishes, those which are, indeed, good for us, and we will be blessed with a good and sweet New Year, a year of Life, Health, Peace and Prosperity, a year of Redemption, by the hands of Moshiach, together with all of our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world, amen.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel