Wednesday, November 29, 2006

test of faith

Parshat Va'Yetzei

Yaakov wakes up from his dream of the laddr and Hashem speaking to him and declares in 28:20-21, "If Hashem will be with me and guard me on the way that I am going and give me bread to eat and clothes to wear and if I will get home to my family safely, then hashem will be to me for my God and I will..."

This is our forefather Yaakov? The "איש תם יושב אהלים"? This is the same Yaakov who just had a dream in which Hashem spoke to him and he woke up and said he only now realized how holy the place was, etc..? he is making his acceptance of Hashem conditional on Hashem giving him bread and clothes? Wasn't Hashem already his God?

And how is this different than what many of us do? We "test" Hashem and say if I pass this test I will keep shabbos, or if I win the lottery I will do x y or z, etc. Was Yaakov doing the same "test of Hashem" and is that what his faith was based on?

4 comments:

Neil Harris said...

I always though that it was an issue of awareness of Hashem that Yaakov was mentioning. Brachos like food, parnassah, clothing are all manifestions of Hashem's chessed to us. If we consciously are aware that Hashem provides, then "will be to me for my God and I will..."
Just my 2 aguros!

Josh said...

I'm not sure how relevant this is, but it's interesting that ma'aser is precisely the one mitzvah regarding which we're commanded to "test" HaShem (Malachi 3:10):

הָבִיאוּ אֶת-כָּל-הַמַּעֲשֵׂר אֶל-בֵּית הָאוֹצָר, וִיהִי טֶרֶף בְּבֵיתִי, וּבְחָנוּנִי נָא בָּזֹאת, אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת: אִם-לֹא אֶפְתַּח לָכֶם, אֵת אֲרֻבּוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וַהֲרִיקֹתִי לָכֶם בְּרָכָה, עַד-בְּלִי-דָי.

There's a ma'amar aggadah that points this out, I think, but I forget where it is.

Rafi G said...

neil - could be. the owrding is funny though if that is the pshat..

josh - interesting point..

Neil Harris said...

Just saw this over shabbos (thanks to the Beis Medresh at KINS), based on RSRH:
The pasukim you show the first time that Yaakov refers to Hashem as "Elokeim". Rav Hirsh says that until this point Hashem always delt with Yaakov in terms of "mercy", and Yaakov is hoping that Hashem will also be kind to him in the arena of "strict justice".