Parshas Shemos Shemos
Shemos 1:1 - 6:1

How G-d Answers Prayer ©

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

This Torah lesson is offered in the very loving memory of Ethel Channah Sakash Belk, my mother, who passed away 22 Kislev 5760, 12 - 01 -1999, may she rest in peace.

Sefer Bereishis covers 2,000 years in 50 chapters. Sefer Shemos covers less than 200 years in 40 chapters. The majority of Sefer Shemos covers just a few years. The first 16 chapters deal with freedom. The next eight chapters offer legal guidance. The remaining 16 chapters center on preparing for the Mishkon.

As the world prepares for the new millennium, the year 2000 on the Gregorian calendar cycle, we in Yiddishkeit and in Spirituality continue on in the year 5760. Each year at this time we begin the discussion of freedom. Discussing freedom requires change. Parshas Shemos ushers in the atmosphere of change.

Isn’t it interesting that at this time of year so many world residents make NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? Residents of the world are moved to reflect on the need for change. They accredit this change to the new year, but in fact it actually is the result of a much older tradition, that of Parshas Shemos. So much GOOD comes from the concept of turning over a new leaf. Start the new year on the right foot. Get off to a good start. The old year is behind us and a new year is starting. The winds of change are very strong during the next four weeks. The attitude of shuvah / repentance is great. It’s wonderful! Very wonderful!!

Yet, at the change of a new year there is little to support the change so many desire other than their own willpower. This is in stark contrast to 1 Tishri... to Rosh Hashannah... to Oul Yaw Meem - Vih Shaw Neem, {And Days And Years} the Spiritualist New Year... the birthday of the year! Why is that? It is because all Creation stands before Hashem on 1 Tishri to be judged. Some stand before Hashem from a proactive position. In Judaism we begin this preparation by blowing the Shofar on 1 Elul. We say special prayers in the morning. This is about four weeks before 1 Tishri. It is at this time that we begin preparing for 1 Tishri by searching our hearts and ridding our hearts of evil from the past year by doing Teshuvah. In addition we say extra morning prayers called Selichot {prayers of repentance}. Selichot normally begins around 11 PM on the Yom Echad before Rosh HaShannah. There are many other things we do in preparing to stand before the Judge of the Universe.

Many Jews go to shul on Rosh HaShannah. Spiritualists gather together when possible to honor Hashem. Some Jews and Spiritualists have properly prepared, others have not. However some of those who have not prepared in advance for this day of Judgment connect with repenting for their mistakes and begin that very day turning over a new leaf. Over the next ten days known as the Ten Days of Repentance, they join in searching theirs heart and ridding their hearts of the past year’s evil. In so doing they are preparing for Yom Kippur. They are forging a new path. They are making amends. They are doing as the Creator desires...

Then there is the group that just passes by 1 Tishri just like it was another day of the week, month, year without any awareness of its special importance or holiness. Their actions are judged by the Creator. They were not physically present but they were judged just the same. They made not one preparation in advance of 1 Tishri. They were either ignorant of the great, great significance of 1 Tishri or they ignored it. This is MOST UNFORTUNATE! I was once there but not anymore, thank

Now why have I stopped to explain about what should be happening on and before 1 Tishri, Rosh HaShannah? The purpose is to show the difference between preparing the soil for the seed and just casting seed on the surface of hardened earth. This is the vast difference between 1 Tishri and January 1st... The results of most new year’s resolutions are evident within a few weeks.

Unfortunately, four weeks into the Gregorian new year the majority of the world’s residents will have begun their drift back towards their unconquered problems. Why? New year’s resolutions fade. There is a very big difference between the popular new year’s resolution and Jewish / Spiritualist shuvah. Shuvah / repentance lasts, new year’s resolutions fade.

Shuvah is a plan designed by the Creator of the world, Hashem! IT IS FOR ALL HIS Creation!
Teshuvah was designed by the Creator for Jews and for Spiritualists in order to lead dependent, addicted, subordinate, subservient, reliant, uncertain, weak, defenseless, disarmed, exposed, helpless, powerless, susceptible, unprotected and vulnerable people to FREEDOM. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Gregorian new year. The Gregorian calendar is man’s dictate. It does NOT flow with Ha Torah. Ha Tenach does not teach or support the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar does not flow with what is natural. The Gregorian calendar was forced upon us by a brutal religious power centuries ago. There is a very great pagan influence in observance of the names and days of the Gregorian calendar. Do some research into when the Gregorian calendar came into existence. What was happening at the time? Study the meanings of the months and days....

At B’nai Noach Torah Institute we encourage our classmates to return to the correct terms for a month and a year when speaking or writing.

Holy classmates, observing 1 Tishri flows with our Creator’s plan to assist His Creation. The Gregorian calendar does not...

During the next four weeks we will begin doing prep work. Yes... Preparation work for deliverance at Pesach! Freedom is not a loose cannon. Freedom is a way of life. The ways of freedom must first be learned. Freedom requires a charging system and a way of maintaining that system just like properly preparing for 1 Tishri. Our way is commanded by Hashem in Ha Torah for Jews and Spiritualists!! Observing the Seven Noaich Commands of Ha Torah is the way observant Spiritualists flow with the Creator’s desires. Classmates, freedom requires a system of values that establishes and maintains its beautiful environment. Both Judaism and the Seven Noaich Laws maintain this way. Both are the Creator’s desire for Creation.

During these next four weeks observant Jews will begin making attempts to break loose of our confinements, BUT some of us will fail because we did not establish the environment for our freedom.
We MUST learn how to properly establish our environment for enjoying freedom. We need a stronger desire to succeed! Yet when we do succeed we need anchors to hold our progress. We need fences to protect us from our impulses. So how do we accomplish this? For Jews it the observance of Ha Torah and for the rest of the world it is the observance of the Seven Noaich Laws.

As a side note, the housecleaning that I am making reference to is in accordance with Ha Torah for Jews. We call this advance preparation / housecleaning Pesach cleaning. Judaism has been observing this for more than 3,500. Where do you think the idea for ‘SPRING CLEANING’ came from?

In this week’s parsha those who are Jewish begin an intense learning program between now and Pesach that will strengthen our spiritual and moral fiber. It is designed so that when we succeed we will maintain our freedom and not look back to Mitzriam, the place of Jewish captivity, after a hard fight!!

Today is the beginning of our journey to freedom from that which oppresses us.

What does all of this discussion regarding 1 Tishri and Pesach cleaning have to do with how G-d answers prayer? How our Creator answers prayer is a major hang-up for many of this world’s residents. For many years I have heard the testimonies of people who pray to leaders of various religions or spiritual paths... eastern... western... Mohammed... Jesus... Buddha... the Dali Lama... Gurumayi... et al. Some people pray to Mary whom they believe to be Jesus’ mother. Others pray to people they believe to be saints like Peter, Paul, et al...

We receive e-mail from readers who claim to be very devout to their particular religion. Each strongly believes that their particular religion is the right one. Each makes their plea to us citing great answers to prayer. Personally, I did not question their sincerity. Nor did I think they were lying. So how could it be that all these people can cite answers to their prayers as the foundation for their belief in a particular religion?

The answer to that question is in this week’s parsha. It is so simple. It is not profound. In fact the answer is repeated many times throughout the Bible. First, an example of what I am about to explain.

Ten mothers are sitting in a room not far from where their children are playing. A child begins to cry. Immediately without question the mother of the child says to the other mothers present, “That sounds like Billy,” as she rises to see what’s the matter. Ten mothers do not jump up. Usually it’s just the mother of the child who is crying... ALL THE MOTHER HAS TO HEAR IS HER CHILD’S CRY! Nothing more!

In the same exact way G-d as Creator responds to the cries of his Creation.
It is not the name that G-d hears. It is the cry that G-d hears! Please observe what Ha Tenach says:

'And said Hashem to Moshe, I have surely seen from Aleph to Tav the misery of My people that are in Mitzriam I have heard from Aleph to Tav of their cry because of their slave masters; for I know their sorrows..' Shemos 3:7

'To my voice listen when I cry my King and My G-d for to you I pray.' Tehillim 5:3

'In my trouble I called to Hashem and to G-d I cried He heard from His Sanctuary my voice and my cry came before Him in His ears.' Tehillim 18:7

'Hashem, hear my voice when I call and be Gracious to me and answer me.' Tehillim 27:7

'The eye of Hashem is toward the righteous and His ears [open] to their cries.' Tehillim 34:15

'[The righteous] cry and Hashem hears and from all their trouble saves them.' Tehillim 34:18

'I hoped continually for Hashem; and His ear inclined to me, and He heard my cry.' Tehillim 40:2

'And to them He recognized their problems and heard from Aleph to Tav of their cry.' Tehillim 106:44
'And then they cried to Hashem in [their] difficulty, to [save] them from their stresses He [heard and] delivered them.' Tehillim 107:19

'Hashem is close to all who call on Him to all that call upon Him in Truth. The [good] will of those who fear Him He fulfills and He hears everything from Aleph to Tav of their cries and saves them.' Tehillim 145:118, 19

In Judaism we cry out to Hashem directly. We do not use an intermediary. For a Jew to pray using an intermediary is a sin

Jews are NOT evangelical! We are not missionaries scouring the world in search of converts to Judaism. We do not solicit for converts! WHY? WHY? Dear classmate why is that necessary when Hashem hears the cries of all His Creation. There is no magical formula required in reaching out to Hashem. Hashem responds to the cries of the righteous people of every religious not because of their religion but because they cried and because they are righteous.

Classmate, it is humankind that promotes the ideal of a special or a certain path to the Creator as such and such. Our Creator does not promote man’s religion. Our Creator promotes observance of Ha Torah where all the issues of living are covered. So all that is necessary for the dependent, addicted, subordinate, subservient, reliant, uncertain, weak, defenseless, disarmed, exposed, helpless, powerless, susceptible, unprotected, powerless and vulnerable WHO ARE IN NEED IS TO SIMPLY CRY OUT TO THE CREATOR. Hashem will hear. The Creator is always listening the cries of His Creation. This is the natural way to speak with the Creator. This is how G-d answers prayer.

I began by discussing the new year and why the majority of those who begin new year resolutions fail. Yet I did not actually discuss why they would fail. I discussed why those who observe Ha Torah succeed. In seeking an answer from our Creator the same principle exists. Religions entangle. Religions confuse. Religions do not answer prayer... According to Ha Torah all that is necessary is to sincerely cry out to the Creator. Hashem will hear your cry. Hashem will answer
the [good] will of those who fear Him. This means that our intent must be righteous. In other words, our intent must be within the guidelines of what our Creator desires. This is why Dovid Ha Melech wrote in Tehillim [The righteous] cry and Hashem hears and from all their trouble saves them. It is because there is more than one potential answer to our prayers. There is the righteous answer that follows with our Creator’s Will and there is the other.... and the other can just about be anything that we dream up... So the point is that those who are righteous flow with the Creator’s Will and pray in accordance with the Creator’s Will. They are not swimming up stream like all those who make new years resolutions that fall by the wayside.

Classmates, what I am saying is that each of us is required to have a commitment with the Creator. We should desire what the Creator desires. We should agree with what the Creator agrees. We should support what the Creator supports...

We should not be selfish brats, like spoiled children. About the only prayer the Creator will answer from this position is teshuvah... Classmates, this is how our Creator answers prayer.

In Parshas Vayechi, the Midrash comments that kindness... that charity, meaning gifts of money, are so powerful that they reach above the constellations to the Heavens. The Midrash teaches that because Yaakov cared for Yoseif for 17 years, Yoseif would care for his father Yaakov for 17 years. Yoseif was sold into slavery at the age of 17. These are the years Yoseif cared for his father Yaakov: Yaakov came to Mitzriam at the age of 130 and died at the age of 147. {Bereishis 47:9, Bereishis 47:28, Bereishis 37:2} Our Sages teach that Yaakov would have died at the age of 130 if it were not for his great charity toward Yoseif. They teach that the power of charity exceeds the height of the farthest constellation.

Classmates, our Sages also teach that our tears pierce the gates of HaShamayim. There is a beautiful story on CD told by Reb Shlomo Carlebach, may he rest in peace. Reb Shlomo states that this story was told on the very first Motzi Shabbat that the great tzaddik the Belzer Rebbe spent in Eretz Israel when he moved there. It was told at a great simcha honoring the Belzer Rebbe by the Schwartze Wolf, the great great grandson of the Schwartze Wolf.

The story tells of a rabbi who was seeking a blessing as he and his wife had not been able to have children. This rabbi tried everything including visiting one of the 36 tzaddikim. The 36 tzaddikim are the most righteous people on this earth. Our Sages teach that our Creator answers their prayers. Yet this rabbi’s prayer was answered in the most unique way. He visited one of the 36 tzaddikim, the Schwartze Wolf, at his home in the woods on Erev Shabbat thinking that if he presented himself as a traveller lost in the woods he would be invited to spend Shabbat and have the opportunity to ask this tzaddik for a blessing to have a child. It didn’t work that way.

When he knocked on the tzaddik’s door, his wife answered and would not let him in the house. He was deceitful and she knew this, so he appeared to her as a wretched man instead of the rabbi he actually was. She attempted to slam the door in his face, but he stuck his foot in the doorway and begged for a little mercy. The tzaddik’s wife conceded to permit him to sleep that evening, Erev Shabbat, in the barn, in the hay, amongst their cattle.

As he lay there that night, he thought about himself and his wife and the fact they had no children. He was very sorrowful. He was even more depressed at the way the tzaddik’s wife had treated him. She appeared so mean and cruel and her children appeared like rotten little rascals. As he lay in the hay, the barn door swung open. It was the tzaddik and he was angry. He spoke to this rabbi knowing his plan of deceit. The tzaddikim are so righteous, so very holy, that the Creator gives them the power to read our hearts and our minds. The tzaddik said something to the effect of, ‘Do not think of entering my home this night or I will kill you with my bare hands. You can spend the night here in the barn and as soon as Shabbat concludes, I expect you to leave immediately.’

The rabbi was now more frightened than ever and truly realized the error of his deception and began to ponder how hopeless and lost his life would be without a child. He spent that night and much of the next day reflecting on Torah, seeking forgiveness for his deceit and realizing that his human failures were clearly known to the tzaddik and that after behaving in such a shameful way he realized he would never receive the blessing he dearly cherished and needed from this very great tzaddik. By this time, he had poured his heart out to the Creator and he felt that all hope was completely gone. Shabbat was about to conclude, the sun was sinking very low, he could no longer contain the emotions that for years had built up. He burst into tears and began to weep sorrowfully. It was at that exact moment that three things happened. First, he remembered that human tears could pass all the constellations and pierce the gates of Heaven and touch the Creator and that the Creator would not refuse the tears that would pierce the gates of Heaven.

Second, as he was crying, he said, ‘Aveinu Malkeinu, my Father my King, give my wife and myself a son.’

The final thing that happened was that the barnyard doors flew open and there standing in the center of the doorway with the sun setting in the background was the tzaddik in glowing white. It was as if he was the Kohen Godal {the High Priest} that had just come from the Bet HaMikdosh, the Holy Temple, on Yom Kippur. The tzaddik reached out his hand and helped the rabbi to his feet because in his wailing and crying and sorrowfulness he had fallen to the ground. The tzaddik invited him to join him, his wife and children for the third meal of Shabbat and the tzaddik said to him, ‘G-d has granted your request.’ And the tzaddik blessed him with a child on the condition that he would name the child after him. He agreed and joyfully ran home to his wife. That night she conceived and in the morning when the rabbi went to shul to pray, he learned that the Schwartze Wolf had died the previous night. And he knew in his heart that when this child would be born he would name him Schwartze Wolf and the neshamah of this great tzaddik would be his son.

Classmates, there are many great stories like this one of our Creator answering prayers because of tears piercing the gates of Heaven. This is how G-d answers prayer.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Written 5760
Updated 5764

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