Dear Friends,

After the years of harsh slavery, the Israelites finally go free. But as they are leaving Egypt, the Torah tells us that the people immediately felt fear and deep disappointment. In front of them was the sea, and behind them was the pursuing Egyptian army. Would they drown in the water, or would they die at the aggressive hands carrying swords and other weapons?
Moses prayerfully cries out to God asking “what should I do?” And God responds: “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people to go forward!”
In Judaism, prayer is important, but prayer that does not inspire action is of little value.  Say our sages: “Pray as if everything depends upon God, but act as though everything depends upon you.” Yes, prayer must inspire us to go forward in partnership with God, asking not so much for cures and solutions, but for strength and courage to meet our challenges and ordeals.

All of us: we all know our share of challenges and personal trials. And in our hearts, we may cry out, as Moses did, for Divine help and intervention. Judaism teaches us to muster every ounce of strength and courage as we face adversity, and “go forward” with the faith that God will be with us as we face our personal challenges.  

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg