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Thursday, 5 April, 2018 - 2:00 pm

I recently read this piece entitled “A Grandparents Answering Machine.”

This is how it works.

Good morning . . . At present we are not at home but, please leave your message after you hear the beep. Beeeppp...

1. If you are one of our children, dial 1 and then select the option from 1 to 5 in order of "arrival" so we know who it is.

2. If you need us to stay with the children, press 2.

3. If you want to borrow the car, press 3.

4. If you want us to wash your clothes and do the ironing, press 4.

5. If you want the grandchildren to sleep here tonight, press 5.

6. If you want us to pick up the kids at school, press 6.

7. If you want us to prepare a meal for Sunday or to have it delivered to your home, press 7.

8. If you want to come to eat here, press 8.

9. If you need money, dial 9.

If you are going to invite us to dinner, or taking us to the theater, start talking … we are listening!

Do you have a tendency to despair over lost opportunities? Or, do you have a tendency to feel inadequate about what you intend to do in the future?

Well, you’re in good company. Often, when we think of Moses, we remember him as the great spiritual leader who led the Jews out of slavery in Egypt. But we forget that Moses doubted himself too.

At the burning bush, G-d appeared to Moses and told him to return to Egypt to free the Jews. Instead of immediately complying, Moses argued with G-d and said that in the past he had tried to help the Jews but failed. He felt the Jews would not take him seriously and that Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to him either. He had a stuttering problem that made him self-conscious. He felt unqualified for the task.

Then G-d simply said to Moses: What do you have in your hand?” You see, G-d shifted Moses’ attention away from anxiety over the past and future. He said, in essence, use what you have now.

“You have a staff in your hand, use it.”

G-d showed Moses that it didn’t matter what he thought he needed. The Creator of the universe can take what you have and turn it into whatever it needs to be in order for you to accomplish what He’s called you to accomplish.

We can all make excuses: “I’m not qualified. I’ve made too many mistakes. I don’t have the talent, the eloquence, the personality, the confidence.”

G-d says: “I know all that. I created you. But what do you have in your hand? All I ask is that you use it.”

Moses said, “G-d, not me. I stutter. I can’t go speak to Pharaoh.”

G-d said, “Moses, don’t worry about it. What do you have in your hand? I’m giving you what you need.”

Before slaying Goliath, David probably thought, “G-d, I’m too little, too young, too inexperienced. Goliath is a talented, powerful, confident warrior. How can I fight him?”

And G-d said, “David, I know that. I know you don’t have air support or helicopters backing you up. But what do you have in your hand? A slingshot with some pebbles? Use it!”

Esther said, “G-d, I can’t go in there and speak to the king. He will not listen to me. I’m an orphan. I don’t have any influence. He may kill me.”

And G-d said, “Esther, what do you have in your hand? Can you throw a wine party? Can you schmooze a bit with Haman and king? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.”

Pharaoh’s daughter heard baby Moses’ cry. She probably thought, “It’s me, one girl against an empire.”

And G-d said. “What do you have in your hand?”
And she said, “Nothing.”
G-d said, Well, if all you’ve got is your hand, use your hand, for G-d’s sake. And she extended her hand towards the basket and changed all of human history!

What’s in your hand today? It may not seem like much, but G-d wants you to use it. He wants to take us to places we’ve never dreamed of. He wants to pour His blessing into the work of our hands so we can lead the rich lives He has in store for us.

It was back in 1984. The children of the famed Lelover Rebbe, living in Israel, came to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe in New York.

During the conversation, the Rebbe employed the law of “searching for the chametz,” as a paradigm for the way Judaism views life and all forms of growth.

Who of us did not feel the pain of disappointment, when after investing countless hours, blood, sweat and tears, we watch our work all go to waste, not bearing the results we worked towards?

This is true in smaller matters, like a project at work, or more significant matters. I put it so much energy into something, only to produce no results.

Sometimes we invest so much in a relationship, we expect awesome results. But they just do not come.

Sometimes we reach out so many times to achieve a desired goal. But we can’t get it done. We are faced with the cold, hard reality of failure. And it hurts.

But, in truth, this is a narrow view of life. Take the Jew searching for chametz. He is searching perhaps all night. He finds nothing. If you ask him, what did you accomplish? He says: nothing. I failed. The goods never showed up.

But it is not how Torah views this reality. This man accomplished everything. His job was not find but to search. G-d wanted him to search and search and search. And this is exactly what he did. His mitzvah was complete and wholesome! In fact, it makes absolutely no difference if he found or not. The mitzvah ceases with the search.

Yes, we live in a very complicated world. But guess what? We do not have to figure it all out. Our job is to do what we have to do, and let the Creator do His job. My job is to search; what I find, how I find, when I find, how much I find, that’s up to G-d.

We need to do the search. Search to get rid of the chametz, the vanity, falsehood, egotism, arrogance, and stupidity in our lives. We got to search for brothers and sisters to ignite their spark. We need to search to study more Torah, celebrate more mitzvot, give more charity, help more people. We need to search for the light everywhere. We need to search to do whatever we can within our sphere of influence to change our world. We do our best and we let G-d do the rest.

Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky

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