Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vaera

A Knowing Heart

By Rabbi Label Lam

And Moshe said so to the children of Israel, and they did not listen to Moshe because of “shortness of breath” and the difficulty of the work. (Shemos 6:9)

Because of shortness of breath and the difficulty of the work: not because they didn't believe in HASHEM and his prophecy, but they just couldn’t pay attention to his words because of the pressure from the hard work. (Ramban)

Now Moshe had just given over the news – the prophecy of the redemption. That should have excited the hearts of the people but they remained numb. It should have been cause for celebration but it turned out to be a point of frustration for Moshe. The Torah does not tell us that they did not believe in Moshe or his prophecy, but only that they could not hear it because of the pressure. It is explicitly stated earlier that they believed in Moshe but now they were just unable to process the promise. Since “we are believers and the children of believers”, it's therefore, not natural for a Jew not to believe. Not everyone is fully aware of the presence of this “believing-self” though, for multiple reasons.

­­­­­­­ My own personal experience interacting with many types of people for a few decades plus- tells me the same. An anecdotal- case in point: A young man I know very well who is, how shall I say, married to a situation that closes his mind to an authentic search for meaning in Torah and Mitzvos; He was out of work for some time and was very excited to tell me when he finally landed a new job. He explained in detail how the event unfolded. He had gone for a job interview on a late Friday afternoon in midtown Manhattan and then proceeded to Grand Central Station for the train ride home. He got the call first thing Monday morning. He realized then retroactively that they must have been discussing which candidate was most worthy for the job just at that time when he was going through Grand Central Terminal on his way to the train.

He explained with the conviction of a “true believer” that as he entered the train station that frigid evening he confronted a cold and hungry man begging for help. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a bundle of money including a load of loose change and while pouring into the fellow’s cup he implored him not to spend the money on a drink or drugs but rather on a warm meal.

This secular minded mechanist was convincing me that it was exactly at the same time that he was exercising compassion for this poor stranger that they were making the decision about the fate of his employment status. He then looked to me for approval but I was too stunned with amazement.

Foolishly I fed him his very own words and asked him if he is telling me that that act of charity had somehow catalyzed and caused the committee to select his resume above the others?! Upon hearing my understanding of his account, he recoiled with incredulity and immediately began to re-explain the dynamics at play. "Oh no- they saw the quality of kindliness in me when I was there and they realized that this job requires a people-person not just a number-cruncher. That's why I got the job!"

Only when confronted consciously with his own chronicle, which was unmistakably filled with a naturally deep faith and trust in the Divine Providence of a living G-d, did he feel the need to revise his-story! He just couldn’t hear of it because of certain external circumstances.

Recently a young lady called me stressed out with news that a cousin of hers had declared that he does not believe in HASHEM. After a lengthy discussion about how she might approach him, I told her that I don't believe that he doesn't believe in HASHEM. He might speak brazenly with bold words and loads of bravado to make some shocking proclamations, but deep down inside, I strongly suspect, there beats a knowing heart.


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


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Ramban: Why was Parshas Nedarim given over specifically to "Roshei haMatos?"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Only the Shadow Knows
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Creatures of Our Environment
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Recognizing the Honor and Kindness of Others
Rabbi Yona Zohn - 5761

How to Vow Your Audience
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Manifestations of Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

ArtScroll

Faithful Contentment
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

Oath of Office
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

They Can Assure a Cure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

> A Book of Memories
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

An Ounce of Prevention
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

You Can’t Get More Local or Global Than That!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

The Eye Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

From the Depths of Your Heart
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

The Joy Of Mussar
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766



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