Dear Friends,

The Torah tells us that as the Israelites were departing from Egypt, that they faced a profound challenge. With the sea before them and the Egyptian army pursuing from the rear, Moses prayed to God. But our sages tell us that God admonished Moses: “There is a time to pray and a time for action. Now is the time to act. Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward!”

Important as prayer is in Judaism, prayer that does not inspire action is mere lip service. We cannot merely utter the words and then sit back, confident that God will take care of the rest. Prayer must inspire us to go forward in partnership with God. Or as one of our sages explains: “Man must search for God, even as God is searching for man.”

We must strive for a mature spiritual balance of prayer and action. Or as our prayer book declares: “Pray as if everything depends upon God, but act as if everything depends upon you.” As we confront the challenges of life, even as we pray for strength and courage and blessing, we must be willing to “go forward,” mustering every ounce of strength and persistence as we strive for our own “Promised Land.”

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg