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Do not ignore heavenly gifts?

On Passover, the Bible commands us to bring a sacrifice of barley, which is the staple food of animals. On the next holiday, Shavuot, we are commanded to bring two loaves of bread made from wheat, humans’ food.

Between Passover, when we were just liberated from a condition of slavery in a despicable land, and the next holiday, when we commemorate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, there are seven weeks. The number seven corresponds to the seven dimensions of our emotions and character. It is during these seven weeks when we make a blessing over every day, through the mitzvah practice of counting the Omer, that we receive strength to improve ourselves and advance from the state of an animal (barley), closer to the positive qualities and condition of a human (wheat).

According to the instructions in the Bible, the wheat for this offering must grow in the Land of Israel. The Talmud asks what would happen if there was a miracle and wheat fell from heaven! Can we use this wheat? It did, after all, come from (the atmosphere of) Israel, or perhaps since it is not from the land, it is excluded from use. The conclusion is that it is recommended not to use this wheat; however, it is acceptable if he did use it.

When God does a miracle, He does so to serve a purpose. What lesson is there to be learned from this discussion (above) for each of us?

We are all born; “a wild donkey, man is born.” If one is not trained and does not work on himself, he will grow to think and act like an animal. Becoming an upright, moral, ethical, spiritual human takes much effort and personal determination. Ultimately, the goal is to realize the limitations of our intellect so that we can set it aside for an even stronger and more extraordinary faculty called faith —trust in God.

Without faith, a man can do nothing. With it, all things are possible. Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation.  

I was recently reading a comic strip that went like this:

“The longer I live, the less I know.”

“Is there a name for that?”

“Wiser.”

Generally, this improvement and growth of the self, is accomplished through our efforts. In the same way, a farmer sweats to work the ground, plant the seeds, harvest the stalks, grind the kernels, and bake the bread; a person must sweat and toil in a positive atmosphere so he will earn his results, the two loaves that he will sacrifice to God.

An age-old prayer asks God not that we are without any struggles in life but that we have the strength to overcome all challenges to become the more remarkable and stronger person these hardships are meant to make of us.

Although hard work is the preferred path for deep enrichment, sometimes from heaven, out of the blue, God will “help” a person in his journey to reach the purpose of life by miraculously providing inspiration. This happens without any effort on the person’s part; perhaps he is driving home from work when inspiration strikes; “coincidentally” or in some other unexpected way (“wheat from heaven”), instilling a feeling of spiritual inadequacy or a desire to be and do more with one’s life.

This may throw a person off. He may wonder, “What is this all about? I have not worked on anything to deserve this spark from heaven. What am I to do with this unearned feeling?”

“Therefore,” the Talmud says, “Although you were not looking out for this, God in His kindness granted you this thought or inspiration for a reason. Be careful not to ignore this gift because it has special powers. It comes from heaven!”

Chapter 189  www.aspiritualsoulbook.com

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" www.aspiritualsoulbook.com & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" www.maimonidesadvice.com. Rabbi Ezagui opened in 1987 the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the Island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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