Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayishlach - Face to Face

by Rabbi Dovid Green


A parable: A king once granted all of his subjects the opportunity to come before him with requests. Every day the king set aside one hour for audiences with his subjects. Appointments were made for months in advance. Each person was given three minutes to beseech the king for his needs. Many requests were indeed granted. One man, whom we will call Ploni (Mr. So and So), was given an appointment for three months in advance. That was ample time to prepare just the right words which needed to be said in not one second more than three minutes.

As time went by, Ploni compiled a large list of things he would read before the king. He was quite proud of himself, and he was making plans what he would do with his new-found fortune. After all," Ploni reasoned, "I have been a loyal and faithful subject for many years."

On the appointed day Ploni made his way to the palace. He was ushered in to the king's chambers. He bowed and greeted the king. He took out his list and began reading. "You expect all of those things?" asked the king. "Yes, your highness." "Why?" asked the king. "Because I have been a loyal and faithful subject, your highness." "And for that I owe you something? Is that what you are saying?" "Yes, your highness," replied Ploni. "Remove this man, and let it suffice for his reward that I let him go on being my loyal and faithful subject," exclaimed the king angrily. "And don't come back here wasting my time with your foolish expectations."

If we can have a connection with the Creator of the universe; if He is willing to listen to us, how should we best make use of the opportunity we have to beseech Him? What is the attitude we should have in prayer?

We find in this week's parsha a basic lesson which is a foundation in Jewish Prayer. Yaakov is on his way back to The Land of Canaan after having fled from his angry brother 20 years earlier. He sends word to Eisav that he is returning, and that he wants to be on good terms with him. Eisav responds with gestures of war. Yaakov's messengers return with news that Eisav is on his way with 400 men. Among the other preparations that Yaakov makes, he prays. From his words we understand the way we, his children, should approach G-d in our prayer.

"I have become small (undeserving) from all of the kindnesses and truth that you have done with your servant," says Yaakov to G-d. "...Please save me from my brother Eisav..."(Genesis 32:11-12). In the classic work "Beis Elokim", the Mabi"t writes that a person should not demand something of G-d. When we demand, fulfillment of our requests depends on whether we really deserve it. Rather, requests should be for kindness; that we should not feel entitled to what we request, but like someone asking for more than he deserves. This is the way Yaakov approached G-d. "I have become undeserving." That means "I've already received more than I'm entitled to. Yet I have needs, and I recognize that You, G-d, are the One Who can fulfill them." When G-d sees that we recognize His kindness, He continues to bestow it in that merit. His kindness is unlimited.

The student of Torah considers his time in prayer a very special time. Prayer is called "the fruit of the day". This means that standing face to face with G-d, praising Him, thanking Him, and recognizing His ability to grant us our requests is not just a means, but a noble end in itself. The sweetness of the fruit is the attitude we manifest in requesting humbly, and not demanding our needs.

Good Shabbos.

This weeks Dvar Torah is dedicated to the memory of Hinda Leah bas Yoel O"H.


Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Dovid Green and Project Genesis, Inc.



 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Immorality Around Us
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Choosing Sides
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Why We Keep Sinning
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Day Falsehood Married Destruction
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Join the Voices in the Ark
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Not Better or Worse, Just Different
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

> A World is Built!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Can You Enjoy While Others Lack?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

The Seven Noachide Laws
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5769

ArtScroll

"G-d Watches Over Man"
Shlomo Katz - 5764

The Ideal Way of Life
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The World is a Symphony
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

How To Need Nothing And Have Everything
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

New Stage, Old Actors
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

The Best Policy
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765

To Share in the Pain of Others
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information