Parshas Va’erah

Parshas Va’erah

By Rabbi Shmuel Gluck

How do we look at someone (or ourselves) in the following scenario? Our backs are against the wall (what we refer to as a Nisayon) and we self-reflect, and possibly even make a commitment to improve. Then, the situation works out and, within days, we forget about what happened and we forget our commitment. That is how most of us react. If we, for example, had a kidney stone, we may commit to make the Bracha of Asher Yatzar with concentration. Most people will last for a few days, maybe weeks. The same would be true for any commitment we would make. Most likely, we would view such a person as normal, well-meaning but weak. 

Hashem looks at it differently. Vayar Par’oh Ki Chodal Hamotor V’haborod V’hakolos Vayoseph Lachato. And Par’oh saw that the hail and thunder stopped and he sinned again. The Medrash (12:7) explains, Kach Heim Horesha’im, this is the way that Resha’im think. Kol Z’man Shehein B’tziro Ho’yu Machni’yim Atzmom, when they’re in a difficult situation, they humble themselves. Mishehatzara Overes, Chozrin Lkilkulon. As soon as the problem passes, they return to their old ways. 

Hashem does not credit us for our initial reactions when our backs are against the wall. That’s called survival, not sincerity.

The Torah looks at that person differently than we do, as being a Rasha. Hashem does not credit us for our initial reactions when our backs are against the wall. That’s called survival, not sincerity. Accordingly, most of us have a long way to go to rise above the definition of a Rasha. 

The first step is for us to realize that the Torah sees things very differently than we do. The second step is to adapt our thinking to be consistent with how the Torah thinks. Finally, we have to adapt our behavior to follow the directions and expectations of the Torah.

Photo Credit: MICROMOTH from rgbstock.com

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