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Dovid Vigler

Don’t allow your happiness to depend on something you may lose

Photo by Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens (Aug. 4, 2023, Farming coriander seeds - Rabbi Dovid Vigler and his son, Shmulik)

Nothing can shake those who are secure in G-d’s hands.

We all need someone to lean on. It’s part of being human. But what happens when we lose that person—to discord, divorce, or death? How do we find the strength to carry on when the rug has been pulled from beneath our feet? I know that people of all ages struggle with the loss of a parent—the person who has known, loved, and supported them since before they even loved themselves.

In a fascinating theme that runs through all of the formative years of our nation’s founding, the Torah gives us an incredibly powerful, yet practical tool that helps us manage stress, mitigate anxiety, and live our lives to the fullest.

As soon as our ancestors broke free from Egypt, they journeyed through the desert for forty years, before finally reaching the Promised Land. During this time, they were nourished by a miraculous food—the manna—which descended fresh from Heaven each morning.

The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, [it was] white, and it tasted like a wafer with honey. (Exodus 16:31)

Truly miraculous in its nature, this food tasted like whatever the person eating it wanted it to taste like, and it was fully absorbed into the human body, leaving no waste. Yet, the Torah describes the manna as torturous:

Who fed you with manna in the desert, which your forefathers did not know, in order to afflict you and in order to test you, to benefit you in your end. (Deuteronomy 8:16)

However, this miraculous sustenance was actually something of a bitter pill to swallow (no pun intended) due to one important detail—the Israelites were not allowed to save any of it for the next day, relying wholly upon G-d for their sustenance as they fell asleep each night with their “kitchen cupboards” completely bare!

And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave over [any] of it until morning.” (Exodus 16:19)

Can you imagine going to sleep each night without a single penny in your checking or savings account? Enduring forty years of this practice, inculcated into our nation’s psyche an awareness of G-d’s miraculous provision for our needs and His critically important presence in our lives. With this solid foundation, we would have what it takes for the subsequent 3300 years until today, to know where we need to hedge our bets. And when things don’t work according to plan, you should know that it’s because G-d has a better plan for you—He has a better route for you to reach your destination. What if everything you are going through is preparing you for what you asked for?

This is not just a best practice—it’s actually vital for our survival! As long as our ancestors were able to exhibit their trust in G-d each night—as displayed by a sweet night’s slumber—they were in G-d’s good graces. But when they made the mistake of saving leftovers, they aroused G-d’s wrath upon them with devastating consequences. When we allow ourselves to “let go and let G-d”, He rains blessings upon us like the Biblical manna. But when we allow our fears and anxieties to steer our judgment, when we choose to rely more on our resources than on our Creator, we are turning G-d’s favor away from us too.

This lesson is so vital to our healthy functioning as a society and as individuals, that G-d ordered a special pitcher of manna to be stored in the Holy of Holies of the Temple, to forever remind us on whom we need to rely.

We also actively act out this truth during the most celebrated Jewish ritual of all time—the Pesach Seder. At first, it seems odd that we begin the Seder by hiding a piece of Matzah away only in order to eat it at the end of the Seder night. But a deeper look exposes a profound truth: as the Seder begins, we are still struggling with our personal freedom. We are in a slavery mentality, grappling with fear and anxiety, and hence feel the need to squirrel away some scraps to serve as our security. But at the Seder’s end, we have evolved our thought process into a freedom mentality, where we have learned to rely on G-d instead of man. Empowered with the purpose endowed within us by our Creator, we now find the confidence to march forward without the need for leftovers to lean on—for now, we depend on the Divine alone.

Those who leave everything in G-d’s hands will eventually see G-d’s hand in everything. As long as we lovingly turn to our Heavenly Father, He will reciprocate in kind. But if we make the mistake of turning away from Him to bank on bubkes, there’s no telling how we’ll end up.

During the Civil War, Reverend Mark Watkinson, a Pennsylvania clergyman, encouraged the placement of “In G-d We Trust” on US coins at the war’s outset as it would “place us openly under the Divine protection.” Beyond a single pitcher in the Holy Temple, the great United States of America reminds us of this truth on the very money with which we seek to replace our reliance on G-d!

Don’t depend too much on anyone in this world, because even your own shadow leaves you when you are in darkness. While a parent’s love is everlasting, there’s no one that we can truly count on except G-d alone. Where our strength runs out, G-d’s strength begins. He who kneels before G-d can stand before anyone!

_______________________
Rabbi Dovid Vigler
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens

6100 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
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About the Author
Raised in South Africa and educated in some of the finest Yeshivas in Israel, England, New York, and Australia, Rabbi Dovid Vigler strives to share the beauty and depth of Judaism in a clear, conversational, and down-to-earth manner. Whether in private counseling, relatable sermons, weekly email broadcasts, or in his popular Torah classes on social media, he reaches out to every Jew with unconditional love, patience, and compassion. His inspirational talks and uplifting messages can be found on YouTube.com/JewishGardens and Facebook.com/JewishGardens
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