Imagine walking into a blessing store to obtain blessings for whatever you need. What size blessing would you ask for? Medium, large, or extra large?
Before you dismiss this funny question (“There is no such a thing as a blessings store!”), think again. While we don’t have a store where we can come in and order blessings, we do have opportunities when we pray to G-d and ask for blessings.
Every prayer is like submitting an order to G-d and asking for His blessings.
And I sometimes wonder: do we ask for blessings in extra small sizes? Is it possible that because we are humans with limited vision, we ask based on how we understand our needs? Yet G-d can give us so much more if we only ask.
Grace after meals contains the following prayer:
“L-rd our G-d, please do not make us dependent upon the gifts of mortal men nor upon their loans, but only upon Your full, open, holy, and generous hand.”
Someone once explained this sentence with the following parable:
A young boy walked by a candy store. The store owner wanted to make the child happy and invited him in. “You can take any candy that you would like,” he said. The child thanked him but didn’t choose anything.
“He must want more than one candy,” the store owner thought. So he said, “Take a handful of candies.” The young boy briefly hesitated but didn’t take anything.
Frustrated, the store owner decided to try his luck one more time. “Come, I will give you a handful of candies,” and finally, the child agreed. After receiving his candies, the child explained why he refused at first. “My hands are small, so I wouldn’t get so many candies if I took a handful. Instead, I waited for you to give me your handful; this way, I have so many more!”
So when we pray to G-d, we ask him to give us from His hands, not by our meek measurement and small hands but by His infinite kindness.
And when we treat others, we should strive to emulate G-d’s divine example.
This week, we commemorate the Yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneurson, the wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. She was a legendary woman. In addition to being instrumental behind the scenes to Chabad’s success, she was known for her generosity and deep sensitivity to everyone with whom she interacted.
Once, she hosted a family at her home and insisted on serving ice cream to the young children. One child was uncomfortable being served by this distinguished woman, and he offered to take ice cream himself. The Rebbetzin refused and explained with a smile: “If you will take yourself, you might take too little. If I serve, I will give you a bigger portion.”
The Talmud and the Zohar both speak about how G-d reflects our behavior towards others. When we help those in need, we can provide them with their mere needs or go the extra mile to provide them with generosity and abundance. And surely G-d will treat us the same way.