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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

And after these events God Tested Avraham... (Bereshith 22:1)

A person may profess strong ideologies, but this does not necessarily mean that he is living up to those ideals. God tests a person in order to push him to actualize his potential. He thereby shows the world, and the person himself, that he is not just espousing lofty ideals, but rather that he lives by what he says (1). God tested Avraham with ten trials; the final and most difficult one was the Akeidah, in which Avraham was commanded to offer his son as a sacrifice to God.

Although God does not present us with challenges as great as the Akeidah, we are nonetheless obligated on a daily basis to show that our actions are consistent with our beliefs. One of the ways we do this is during the morning and evening prayers when we mention the Exodus of the Jewish People from Egypt and all the miracles which accompanied that event, and immediately afterward we recite the Amidah prayer. Since the Exodus from Egypt and all of the miracles that surrounded it are an expression of Divine Omnipotence, when we mention all that God did for us then, we are affirming our faith. In order to demonstrate the authenticity of our belief, after mentioning the Exodus in our prayers, we immediately turn to God in prayer (2).

This concept is further strengthened in the actual phrasing of the prayer from Al haRishonim to Ga’al Yisrael in which the word emeth is repeated six times, corresponding to the six times that the word emeth is hinted to in the creation narrative (3). Since this prayer is preparing us to demonstrate that our beliefs are substantiated by our actions, the more we internalize the reality of these events, the stronger our faith will be as we approach God in prayer. Therefore our Sages saw fit to mention the word truth so many times at this point in the liturgy.

1. Ramban.
2. From the commentary of Rabbeinu Yonah on Brachoth 4b.
3. Bereshith 1:1, 1:4, 1:21, 1:27, 1:31, 2:3. See the essay “Signs of Truth I,” (Page 9).

Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and



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