Walk the Talk
Abracadabra--You’re a frog! You’re not? Ok, but I tried. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that the magical incantation abracadabra originates from Aramaic and means “I create as I speak.” And though most of us can’t just cause rabbits to appear from top hats, our words do make a difference—if they didn’t then there would be no such thing as slander law. Our words, on many levels, make an impression on the universe, and our prayers do as well. The question is, when we pray, whom are we talking to? When people pray at the Western Wall are they just talking to a wall? If G-d has everything and needs nothing from us mortals why does He insist that in our prayers we praise and thank Him for all that He has blessed us with? A possible answer is it’s not for Him or His needs, it’s for our own! Each time we pray we are moved to count our blessings and to express our appreciation for what we do have. Instead of depressing ourselves with our own words, we fortify ourselves and empower ourselves. We make contact with the god inside of us. I have always found it beautifully symbolic that in the Hollywood epic The Ten Commandments, the voice of G-d was Charlton Heston’s, the actor who also played Moses; for, if the voice of G-d is our own voice, then we have the power within to heal our lives and access happiness and success. But praying is not enough. When the Jews panicked upon confronting the Red Sea with no way to escape the pursuing Egyptian army, how odd it is that after making such a big production of His ability to free the slaves, God says to Moses, “Wherefore thou criest unto me?” [Exodus 14:15]. If Moishe Dayan had tried that answer after boxing in his Israeli troops they would have scratched out his other eye. G-d is teaching the Israelites an important thing here about faith: G-d helps those who help themselves. G-d surely knows what His job is, but do we know ours? It says in this week’s Bible portion that when Moses raised his arms and prayed for the Israelites, they succeeded in fighting against Amalek, when his arms and prayers wearied, Amalek was stronger. So we learn two things here. Yes, we have to pray but we have to take up arms against the challenges in our lives as well. In 1948, when the fledgling State of Israel was attacked by five Arab armies, Jews didn’t only pray as did the Six Millions murdered Jews of the Holocaust, this time they also fought back. The Jews in Israel at the time could have cried out as did the Jews who were liberated from Egypt and said, “Were there no graves in Egypt [or Auschwitz] hast thou taken us to die in the wilderness [Israel]? This time they not only prayed to G-d but supplemented their words with action. Both are necessary. You don’t lose weight, make money, or meet the man of your dreams by sitting and doing nothing and just praying, so what makes you think that miracles happen just because you have faith alone. You must be an equal active partner with faith. There have been studies that showed sick people who were prayed for faired better than those individuals who were not prayed for. Although there is no substantive scientific proof that prayer works, I have found it fascinating that a Japanese doctor named Dr. Masaru Emoto, through Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology, provided factual evidence that human vibrational energy—thoughts, words, ideas and music—affect the molecular structure of water. To extrapolate on his finding, it may very well be possible that prayers can change reality on a microscopic level and thus influence how things evolve. Yet, biblical scholars say that the waters did not part for the Jews despite their crying, until one individual by the name of Nachshon jumped into the sea neck deep. Upon his action AND faith, the waters opened. If you want a miracle dear friends, work it baby, work it. G-d knows his job description. As for all of us, while we are “crying” let’s do a little trying.