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What Are You Praying For?

By: Ms. Elisheva Michaels

The Jewish people were standing between Pharaoh and the deep blue sea with nowhere to run. I had always been taught that at this point Moshe had davened to Hashem and Hashem told Moshe to stop praying and act! This made the situation unique in that Hashem had actually told Moshe to stop praying at a time of need. Upon re-reading the Parsha I realized that Moshe actually makes more of a statement to Hashem of what will happen; what he says to the Jewish people is: “Do not fear. Stand fast and see the salvation of Hashem that he will perform for you today.”

According to the Rambam, Moshe simply did not know how to conduct himself in this situation. Hashem had already told him in previous pesukim that he would be “glorified through Pharaoh” in that He would defeat Pharaoh, and through this act Hashem’s name would be magnified and glorified. So, working with the assumption that the Jewish people would be saved, Moshe told the people that Hashem would save them. However Hashem rebukes Moshe for trying to manipulate His plans. Rashi explains that when Hashem says “Why do you cry out to me?” Hashem is saying that the situation is controlled by Hashem and no one else. Rashi refers back to a similar situation in Isaiah where Hashem says, “Will you ask me about the future or instruct me about my children and the work of my hands?”

Sometimes in times of desperation when we see suffering and pain, we forget that Hashem is in charge. Although we have the power of prayer, we must be aware of how and what we are asking Hashem for. We are asking Hashem to help us with and guide us. We are asking Hashem for what is right for us, not what we think we need. We should not have the arrogance as to tell Hashem what to do. We see this so much in our davening; “May it be Your will.” We, Bnei Yisrael, only want something if it aligns with what Hashem wants as well. We do not directly tell Hashem what to do. I have always been taught that the phrase “We want moshiach now”, is the wrong this to say, rather we should be saying: “We wait for moshiach” and make ourselves worthy for its arrival. במהרה בימינו!

Shabbat Shalom.




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