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Parshat Va’etchanan-G-d always answers prayers

In the Parsha Va’etchanan, Moses asks God to reconsider the decision to forbid him entry into the Holy Land. “Va-et’chanan,” he says, “I made myself plead” Moses, begs God “Let me . . . cross over and see the Land.

 Rashi remarks that what Moses means by “let me . . . cross over” is that perhaps God’s prohibition is in the context of Moses’ entering the Land as the Israelites’ leader, but if he were just one of the people, the prohibition might not apply. Rashi reasons that Moses wants to enter the Land so much that he is looking for any loophole.

 The Talmud (B’rachot 32b) comes to the conclusion: “Prayer is greater than deeds of loving-kindness. No one had done more deeds than Moses, and yet he was answered only through prayer. He asked, ‘Let me cross over and see.’ And God responded, ‘Go up and see.’” Rashi comments on this, saying, “I (God) was pleased to answer the prayer and show the land to you.” God partially accepted Moses’ prayers: he was not to go into the Land but he would see the Land.

God answers all prayers. He may say “Yes”; but sometimes the answer is “No” and sometimes the answer is not what we expect, and God says to us ”I have a better plan”. Sometimes we are not close enough to G-d to hear the answer.  A young man was in great trouble and didn’t know which way to turn. So he went to see the old Rebbe. Pacing about the Rebbe’s study, the young man ranted on about his problem. Finally he clenched his fist and shouted, “I’ve begged God to say something to help me. Tell me, Rebbe, why doesn’t God answer?”

 The old Rebbe, who sat across the room, spoke something in reply — something so hushed that it was indistinguishable.

 The young man stepped across the room. “What did you say?” he asked. The Rebbe repeated himself, but again in a tone as soft as a whisper.  So the young man moved closer until he was leaning on the Rebbe’s chair. “Sorry,” he said. “I still didn’t hear you.”  With their heads bent together, the old Rebbe spoke once more. “God sometimes whispers,” he said, “so we will move closer to hear Him.” This time the young man heard and he understood.

Sometimes the answer is later – it is not time yet to receive God’s answer.  My  favorite story about God and our expectations goes something like this:

 A young person asked “God, how long is a thousand years to you?”  God replied, “It’s like a minute.”  The young person asked, “Will you give me a million dollars?”  God said, “Certainly, just wait a minute.”

 Two things must always be in our mind when praying: (1) we cannot give God  orders. (2) The Almighty can actually say “No” to something asked for. Melech Ha Olam knows better than we do what is good, and that from Him “No’s” or “Later’s” were blessings worthy of giving thanks.

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