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Parshas Beshalach

Guaranteed Results!

HASHEM said to Moshe, “Why do you cry out to Me? Speak t the Children of Israel and let them journey! And you lift up your staff and stretch out your arm over the sea and split it and the Children of Israel shall come into the midst of the sea on the dry land...” (Shemos 14:15-16)

It happened that when Moshe would raise his hand Israel was stronger, and when he lowered his hand Amalek was stronger. (Shemos 17:11)

Was it Moshe's hand that won the battle or lost the battle? Rather {the Torah teaches you}: As long as Israel looked heavenward and subjected their heart to their Father in Heaven, they would prevail; but when they did not, they would fall. (Rosh HaShana 29A)

It looks like there's a mixed message in these two accounts. On the one hand by the sea, Moshe is told, in other words, “It's not a time for prayer, it's a time for action!” In this war versus Amalek we are told the battle is not in Moshe's hand or in the activity of the Children of Israel but rather in the direction of the eyes and hearts of Israel. So, which it it? Is it praying or is it doing that wins the day?

A man was forced by economic circumstances to emigrate to France. He was looking to reestablish himself in business so he approached Baron Rothschild and requested a loan of 500 Francs. Baron Rothschild answered him, “The policy of House of Rothschild is not to grant a loan without a guarantor!” The same fellow returned awhile later and begged more urgently for a loan to start his business and feed his family. The Baron gave the same standard answer, “The policy of the House of Rothschild is not to grant a loan without a guarantor!” Weeks passed by and the fellow was approaching starvation. He pleaded his case to the Baron again only to receive the same answer.

Soon afterward the same man came back to the Baron Rothschild with a paper in his hand. This time he told the Baron that he had a guarantor. The Baron unfolded the request document and scanned the page in search of the identity of the one backing the loan and there in bold print was scripted the name of the “The Almighty!” Without hesitation the Baron granted him a six month loan of 500 hundred Francs.

Six months later the man returned to the office of the Baron Rothschild and with great pride presented him with the sum of 500 Francs in repayment of the loan. The Baron refused to accept the money and when the man insisted the Baron Rothschild told him, “You do not have to repay this loan. The guarantor has repaid the loan many time over!”

What's more crucial praying or doing? The answer is, “Both!” Doing with an attachment to G-d yields a far superior result than doing alone. Prayer alone is deficient when there are action to be done. The combination is more powerful than weight of the sea or the ferocity of a mortal enemy. King Solomon had said in Mishlei (21:31) The horse is readied for the day of war but salvation is HASHEM's! Whether in business or military ops or any of life's many emergencies only one strategy can offer us guaranteed results!


DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 
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