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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

When you need G-d the most

Daf Yomi Sotah 35

A priest, a minister, and a rabbi were discussing how they apportion their collections between G-d and themselves, i.e. how much goes to the church or synagogue and how much do they get to keep?
The priest says, “I have a great system.  I draw a big circle on the ground.  I then stand in the middle and throw the collection plate up into the air.  Whatever lands outside the circle is for G-d; whatever lands inside the circle is for me.”
The minister says, “That’s incredible.  My system is very similar. I draw a line down the middle of the room and throw up the collection plate.  Whatever lands on the other side is for G-d; whatever lands on my side is for me.
The rabbi says, “It’s amazing how alike our Judeo-Christian values are.  My method is almost exactly the same as the two of you.  I take the collection plate and throw it up in the air.  Whatever G-d wants, He keeps.  Whatever comes back down . . .”

When the ten spies returned from Canaan with an evil report of the land, the other two, Calev and Yehoshua stood up and opposed their story.  The Torah describes what happened next.
“And the entire assembly said to pelt them with stones.  And the glory of Hashem appeared in the Tent of Meeting.”
Rabbi Chiya bar Aba taught: The juxtaposition of these two verses teaches that the Israelites also took stones and threw them Heavenward.

What happens when you throw stones Heavenward?   You can ask that question to Isaac Newton, or to the rabbi in our fictitious exchange with the priest and minister about collection plates.  What goes up must come down.  When you throw stones at G-d, they land on your head.

Life is full of ups and downs.  Most of us are content to have a relationship with the Almighty as long as things are good in our life.  But what happens when life presents its challenges?  Often, the moment things don’t go their way, people get angry at G-d.  They walk away from Him.  They throw stones at Him. 

But we cannot fathom His ways.  We do not understand why bad things happen.  All we can do during the difficult times is turn to Heaven and ask G-d to carry us through the storm.  Those who cast stones at Heaven are only making things more difficult for themselves.  Instead of entering the Almighty’s loving embrace during their moment of crisis, they turn their back on Him and forsake the opportunity to be transported in His hand.

And that is the meaning of throwing stones Heavenward and the consequence of gravity.  When you lash out at G-d, the stones land back on your head.  Pelting G-d does not help the situation; it merely causes you greater despair.  You are rejecting your Rock, instead of leaning on Him when you need Him the most.  It has the opposite effect to what you require at your moment of crisis and distress.   Those who turn to G-d at the darkest period, endure the ordeal with the least pain. 

The knowledge that you are in G-d’s hands is the greatest comfort.  Those who throw stones at G-d when they need Him the most are really only casting stones upon their own head.  May you merit maintaining your relationship with Hashem through the good times, and those moments in life when you need Him the most!  

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