In this week's Perasha, Moshe Rabenu tells the Jewish people that after they enter the Land of Israel they must:
"Take care lest your forget the Lord, your G-d ... and you build good houses and ... you increase silver and gold ... and everything you have will increase ... and you will forget the Lord, your G-d, who took you out of ... Egypt from a house of slavery..." (Debarim 8:11-14)
Moshe made a plea to all of the Jewish people never to forget that Hashem is the true and only source of everything - including all of the monetary success they ever have. Why was it necessary for Moshe to drive this point home with such intensity?
The reason is that human beings habitually feel that when things go well, it was their doing and not G-d's. But if things go poorly, then it's G-d's fault and not theirs. We tend to take personal credit for things that go well in our lives and blame others if they go poorly.
When something isn't going right in our lives we usually ask G-d to make things better. Whether it's through formalized prayer or a heartfelt request, we really do instinctively recognize the true and only source of everything and will ask the One who can instantly make something change. And although it might not be exactly what you asked for (because only G-d knows what's truly best for you), Hashem usually answers our prayers. The fact is, G-d delivers time and time again.
Moshe knew this all too well. But he also knew human nature just as well. So, he pleaded with the Jewish people that when "everything you have will increase," don't forget for one second who gave it to you.
Sadly, we forget this over and over again. We look at our newfound changed circumstances and somehow take personal credit for what we now have. If you're going to "blame" G-d when things don't go your way and ask Him to make things much better for you, simply saying "Thank G-d" when things get better isn't enough. Because unless you live with the reality that it was G-d Who made things better, then you will have missed an enormous opportunity to get closer to the One who controls all.
It's amazing just how often we quickly forget that it was G-d who we had just been praying to. Yes, He wants us to put in the effort to show to Him, ourselves, and those around us that we really do want something. And we have a Torah obligation to put forth this effort. But in the end, it is G-d who delivers and not us and He wants us to fight our inbred desire to take credit for something that we were actually given.
Don't forget Who the only source of your blessings is. In the same way you don't take credit for your sparkling blue eyes, the picturesque sunset, or the gorgeous multi-colored rose bush, so too, don't take credit for your monetary success. Know that the same source of "nature" that surrounds you is the same source of everything else you have. If you can live with this reality, know that you'll literally be walking with G-d.
Rabbi Isaac Farhi
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