Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
G-d’s Order To Moshe: DON’T PRAY!
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 09:18:34 PM
Number of views: 23

“….and the Children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and the Egyptians were pursuing after them. They were very frightened, and the Children of Israel cried out to G-d” (Shmot 14:10).

Immediately after this, we read this unusual verse, “G-d said to Moshe, why do you cry out to Me? Speak to the Children of Israel and let them travel”. This verse is difficult to understand. The Torah did not state previously that Moshe cried out to G-d. The Jewish people cried out to G-d, not Moshe. Why then does G-d say to Moshe, “Why do you cry out to me?”

This order to Moshe contains a theological problem. A person of faith who is in a difficult situation turns to G-d in prayer. This is the most natural response that the Torah requires. Why then, at this moment of despair, does G-d say to Moshe “Why do you cry out to me?” When else should one cry out to G-d?

Midrash Raba explains with the following parable. By a human being, if a poor person comes to speak to him, he does not always listen, but if a rich person comes to speak to him, he immediately listens and accept him. But G-d is not like this, all are equal before Him – men, women, slaves, rich and poor. When Israel left Egypt, Pharaoh pursued them, “and the Children of Israel cried out to G-d” (Shmot 14:10). Moshe began praying as well. G-d said to him, Why are you praying? My Children already prayed and I heard their prayer. Thus, G-d says to Moshe, “Why do you cry out to Me?”

This is an amazing Midrash. Moshe was indeed not praying, he just wanted to pray, but before he even got the chance, G-d said to him, there is no need for your prayer. The prayers of the Jewish People were already heard.

Prayer is indeed important and necessary, but it does not have to be the prayer of a Moshe. All prayers of every human being, no matter who he is, are heard by G-d.

At the Red Sea, before the ultimate liberation, G-d reveals what kind of freedom we should desire. This is a freedom bestowed upon each and every person, without discrimination. The prayer of the simplest person is accepted like the prayer of the great Moshe.

The message of Pesach is that in G-d’s eyes, all people are worthy of having their prayers heard. This is because all of us are precious and unique to G-d because we all possess a G-dly soul.

As Simon and Garfunkel sang in their number 1 hit song, ”I Am a Rock”, because we are all a piece of the ROCK!

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