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  • Writer's pictureAliza Davidovit

From where will my help come?

What does G-d want from us?" "What do our haters want from us?" These questions have become ever more popular since the war in Israel. But they've been around for thousands of years.

These are spiritually-driven questions, yet we, the askers never seem satisfied with spiritual answers. Tell people it's all about stopping their sins and elevating the world through Torah, tell them it’s about loving your brother Jew, and they will roll their eyes, shut you up. Torah? Nah! There has to be another way," is a reply I've often heard from those trying to avoid any religious duty that might interrupt their daily routines. We opt for alternative means to fill the void, pursuing materialistic ornaments, promiscuity, Botox, yoga, body sculpting, travel, shopping, decorating, golfing, and various distractions, and another day passes without the creation of light. And if you think when this war is over, if it ever is, that we can revert to our old misbehaviors think again.

The question, "What does G-d want from us?" remains puzzling to me. When we read articles about diets, we comprehend what dietary changes we should make. When we read self-help books, we understand the recommendations for a better life. So, why is it that when we read G-d's book, we suddenly become illiterate and struggle to understand our native tongue? We have had the Torah for over 3,334 years--and yet we fail to grasp what G-d wants from us?

When it comes to the truth, we cannot go shopping for the answers we prefer, as if they were items on eBay. The Torah is the only truth, the blueprint for all creation, G-d's architectural plan for the world. To understand the world and our place in it, we must refer back to the original "user's manual." Failing to do so renders us not "truth seekers" but voluntary obfuscators, guilty of manufacturing our own darkness.

So, how can we extricate ourselves from the ever-deepening black hole? One way it through prayer! It is a powerful tool, like a sharp-pointed arrow that can pierce the heavens and save us. Just as pulling a bowstring closer to your heart propels the arrow farther, heartfelt and truthful prayers reach greater heights. When we pray to G-d with all our hearts, souls, and might, we can draw closer to our Maker and even alter the course of nature. Praying and reconnecting with G-d is the ark of our survival. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for "ark," as in Noah's ark, also means "word," alluding to prayer. Prayer is what kept the ark sailing and impermeable.

If our voices can activate Alexa, why would we doubt their impact on the heavens? G-d, like a parent, eagerly awaits to hear from us. Prayer teaches us to be deliberate and articulate in our requests, just as we resent communicating with people who are preoccupied with their phones. G-d, too, wants our undivided attention. Pray as if you care about your relationship with the Divine, not impatiently to get it over with. As Rabbi Doniel Katz pointed out, "How you pray is how you live your life."

As we suffer now through this dark time of war, we can still find and create the light. If we want to fix the world, then we have to return to the user's manual written by God. If you wanted to fix your oven, you wouldn’t read the manual for your washing machine, so why continue seeking for remedies and solutions and answers in all the wrong places. 

Don't think, 'What can I do? I'm only one person.' Remember, Noah was just one person too, and if he would have chosen not to be part of the solution, there really would be nothing to talk about. Mankind would  be extinct and there'd be no one to read this article -- or to write it.

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”


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