It’s weird. Tuesday Parshas Beshalach has come and gone, and I don’t feel any different.
WHAT? You don’t know about Tuesday Parshas Beshalach?
Soon to overtake the shirah as THE focal point of Parshas Beshalach, Parshas Hamahn (saying it, that is) is quickly becoming very well-known as a segulah for parnassah. And who doesn’t need help or want assurance that all will be well in the money department? (And if you don’t know that Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov said that TUESDAY PARSHAS BESHLACH is THE day when the segulah WORKS, then you must be homebound and never get out to see those wonderful posters wallpapering Israeli Chareidi streets.)
Actually, the good old staid Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chaim 1:13) cites a Yerushalmi which says that if you say Parshas Hamahn, you will be assured of parnassah. Anytime. And this comes on the heels of the Shulchan Aruch itself (1:5) saying that it is a good idea to say Parshas Hamahn every day. So what I really want to know is how many of you follow the Shulchan Aruch’s idea of a good idea and say Parshas Hamahn every day? Especially in light of the Mishnah Berurah’s citation of the Yerushalmi!? I mean, why wait for Tuesday of Beshalach and Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov zt”l, when this Shulchan Aruch and Misnah Berurah are staring you in the face?!
Ahhhh, maybe because the Mishnah Berurah also says that one has to say the parshah with concentration and focus — thinking about what the pesukim are saying and what it teaches you about having bitachon in Hashem. A person who is concentrating will be one who realizes that his sustenance comes from Shamayim, not from his own various attempts to make his efforts be successful. As the parshah teaches us, whether you tried a lot (velo he’edif hamarbeh) or a little (vehamamit lo hechsir), you ended up getting whatever it is you were supposed to get. Which is a lesson in bitachon, one amongst the many others in the parshah of the mahn. As the Mishnah Berurah says there regarding whenever the Gemara or Chazal make a statement such as “Whoever says ____ a certain amount of times will certainly have a special share in olam habah,” it doesn’t mean to just “say” it, but to think and focus and contemplate the message that lies therein.
Thus, saying Parshas Hamahn is but an opportunity to study and reflect upon bitachon — relying on and trusting in Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
And since we have been learning about basic emunah these last few weeks, and since the Ramban in his essay on emunah and bitachon very famously states, “Emunah is the tree; bitachon is the fruit… Emunah precedes and is indeed a prerequisite for bitachon; having bitachon is a sure sign of emunah, while one can be a ma’amin and be sorely lacking in midas habitachon.” Therefore, in honor of Shabbos Beshalach and Parshas Hamahn, I would like to take this opportunity to lay out for you the basic seven principles which a person must internalize in order to be able to have bitachon in Hashem. This list is taken from the Chovos Halevavos (Shaar Habitachon, ch. 2 and as elaborated upon in ch. 3). And may you incorporate these ideas, and say Parshas Hamahn every day, and have a smooth and easy path to parnassah — smoothed, that is, by middas habitachon.
- You must be convinced and be sure of the fact that Hashem loves you, cares about you, is concerned about you, and wants what is best for you. Too many people are not convinced of this at all! When one practices being grateful for all that goes right in a person’s life, one develops this sense, and along with it a sense of gratitude and love of Hashem. If you are not convinced of this, how can you rely on Him?
- Hashem is fully aware of everything going on in your life. If you think that Hashem may consider your issue insignificant, and not worthy of His attention, or if He is too busy with other things, how can you rely on Him?
- Hashem is omnipotent. Hashem is stronger, smarter, more knowledgeable, than anything else in existence, and can thus find solutions for problems that to you seem insolvable. How will I finish this article before the deadline? How will I meet the mortgage payment? How will I avoid having my wife get angry at me for breaking her favorite vase? How will I avoid my husband getting angry at me for forgetting to mark down that written check? YOU do not see a solution — but Hashem does! And contrary to popular belief, Hashem doesn’t even need your advice! Just make sure you do whatever it is YOU are capable of doing (this is your obligation, also being Hashem’s will) and leave the rest in His hands.
- Hashem knows what is best for you — more than you yourself do. If someone loves you, knows what you need, and is capable of helping you, but doesn’t know what is best for you, that person can obviously do you irreparable harm! He may recommend a medicine, suggest a business venture, a school, with horrendous consequences! Everyone has a story or two or five about things they thought were not good for them which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. Hashem knows what is best for you physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially, for now and for the future, for your body and for your soul. Especially for your soul, as so many things in life are meant as a nisayon to allow us to correct and refine our middos. NOW you can surely rely on Him.
- Hashem has a “track record.” He is the One responsible for everything that has happened to you up till today: your gestation, your birth, your making it to where you are today, married, with children, alive, your teen years, your health… review all the things you have thanked Hashem for that you have already forgotten about. How He has pulled you through rough times. If you honestly review your past, you will find that you have experienced dedication and generosity, and you are ready to fully trust!
- Nobody can do anything to harm you or to help you without it being the will of Hashem, Who controls all. You are totally and absolutely within His control. A mean employer cannot fire you, a horrid neighbor cannot spoil things for you without it being His will. Do you believe this? It is basic emunah, after all…
- Hashem will do kindness and chessed for you even if you are undeserving — more than the most kindhearted, generous person that you know. Don’t be swayed by the thought that you are somehow “undeserving.” Do your best, of course do not intentionally violate Hashem’s will, and trust, rely, depend on Hashem, and only on Hashem.
When you have acquired these seven attributes (each of which are actually pretty basic about Hashem ), you will be ready to fully rely on Hashem, and say Parshas Hamahn the way it was meant to be said! Yes, meant to be said by Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, too.