We ought to remember that G-d's eternal blessings, can be found here and now; not just there - at a faraway destination - and later. His shining light can also be found within the walls of our life's tunnels too - not just at their end. And His great treasures can also be found on the very soil we are treading.Rabbi Allouche
Did you know that the word in Hebrew for “tunnel” (minhara) also means “light”?
The reason is profound: The word for a tunnel in G-d’s language means light because joyous occasions and luminous moments of “light” in our lives are not just found “at the end of the tunnel,” but they can be found “within the tunnel” itself too.
In this week’s portion, G-d warns us not to fall into the illusion that “my strength and the might of my hand made me all this wealth,” (- Deuteronomy 8:17). Rather, we should forever remember that G-d is “He who gives us the ability to produce wealth.”
This does not mean that G-d is asking us to sit back and wait for His blessings to appear miraculously. Quite the opposite, He wants us to toil, to engage with the world, and to pursue our livelihood, using all of our strengths and skills. But we must also remember that, ultimately, our blessings come from the One Above. All we can do, through our tireless work, is to prepare the channels from which His blessings can flow uninterruptedly.
But the message goes deeper: As we race toward ‘making a living’ we dare not forget that G-d’s blessings are everywhere – yes, even in the thickness of our journey, and in the sweat of our actions.
And we ought to remember that G-d’s eternal blessings, can be found here and now; not just there – at a faraway destination – and later. His shining light can also be found within the walls of our life’s tunnels too – not just at their end. And His great treasures can also be found on the very soil we are treading. The legendary Chassidic Master, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, once saw a man racing through the streets of his town.
“Why are you running so fast?” the Rabbi asked him.
The man responded: “Rabbi, I’m racing in pursuit of my livelihood!”
But the Rabbi retorted, brilliantly: “How do you know that your livelihood is somewhere in front of you, and you are racing to catch up to it? Maybe it is behind you, and by racing, you are actually distancing yourself further and further from it?”
Do you also remember the anecdote about the two young fish that were swimming in the Atlantic ocean?
One morning, they happened to meet an older fish swimming the other way. He nods at them and says, “Good morning, boys, how’s the water today?”
The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What is water?”
Just like those fish or that man in Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s story, sometimes we can forget that G-d’s refreshing waters are enveloping us every day in the place we found ourselves, right now. And if we could just open our eyes to appreciate them – we will find them in the beauty of our spouse, in the innocent smile of our children, in the love of our friends, in the fresh air and splendid nature that envelops us, and yes even within the challenges and tunnels of life. We will then undoubtedly exclaim, with all heart, the very first Jewish prayer of the day:
“Modeh Ani Lefanecha Melech Chai VeKayam,” – “I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King,” for all of Your “water” that sustains us.