Minute #493: Shortfall

“I really want to be a better Jew,” Yehoshua declared. “If I could finish the month having paid my bills, I could really express to Hashem how much I love Him and want to do His bidding. It’s the pressure of earning a living that detracts from my ability to perform.”

“Your point is well taken, but if you look around you’ll find that no one ‘has it all,’” Elinatan replied. “Everyone has needs.”

“Well, Hashem certainly has it all!” Yehoshua responded. “How come He doesn’t give us all we need to do our best in His service?”

Everyone Hashem created has needs that make one dependent on Him. When in need, one is required to turn to our Creator and cry out to him in tefillah. The result is a realization of our reliance on the One Above.

The Midrash says (Tanchuma Vayeitzei, 3) that even someone as spiritually great as Yaakov Avinu was denied parnassah in order to prompt him to turn to Hashem. “If I assure him bread, he will have nothing to ask from Me”(ibid.).

We often point to the “one thing” we lack that would ensure our being better Jews. Most consider that “thing” an obstacle to performance and spiritual growth. In fact, the opposite is true. Needs are catalysts that prompt one to acknowledge our true relationship to Our Maker. If we always had all that we assume we need, eventually we would develop a false sense of self-sufficiency. Borei nefashot rabot v’chesronam — He created everyone with needs to help us serve Him better.

Take advantage of what you need. Cry out in tefillah at every opportunity and become close to the One Above. That’s what you really need.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Rabi Menachem was particular to bring salt to the table based on a Midrash that states: When Jews are sitting at a table waiting for others to wash Netilat Yadayim, and thereby they are not performing mitzvot, Satan prosecutes them and the covenant of salt protects them. (Tosafot Berachot 40a)