17 Shvat 5782 / Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | Torah Reading: Va'era
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A young married couple each separately visited doctors and found out that they were unable to have children. In despair, they went to see Rav Arush and asked what to do...


Rachel had been married to Jacob for many years and was in anguish due to her inability to have children. In a distressed and agitated state she told her husband “Give me children or I shall die.” Jacob answered in a defensive and angry manner. On the surface, this seems unfortunate; while Jacob was reprimanded by Hashem for being insensitive, it turned out for the very best.
Rachel realized that she could not count on her husband, herself or anyone else. Her only hope was to turn to Hashem. She began to pray with a sense of complete humility, helplessness, and dependence. She cast her burdens completely on Hashem and appealed for His compassion and mercy.  This approach resulted in her salvation as her son Yosef was born.
Lesson: When we turn to others for help we forget to turn to Hashem. When all hope is lost and we turn to Hashem that is when we find our true hope and salvation. The Gemara says only a complete prayer will be answered. This is the type of prayer in which a person truly believes that everything depends on Hashem, and that with Hashem anything is possible.
Now I Will Thank Hashem
Leah upon giving birth to her fourth son said “Now I will thank Hashem.” At this time she realized that all the tribulations she had experienced in her life were designed by Hashem, were for the best and for a wonderful purpose. Had it not been for the fact that she was the least loved wife she would have not merited giving birth to more sons than any of the other wives.
She now realized that everything Hashem had wrought was for her ultimate salvation. She named her son Yehuda which means to give thanks. This would be a constant reminder to thank Hashem for things large and small, for things that look good and for things that didn't look good at all.
The Torah tells us that immediately after this she stopped giving birth. However she continued to thank Hashem  and shortly thereafter we find that she gave birth again not just once, not twice, but three times!
Lesson: Rabbi Shalom Arush says that thanking Hashem for our tribulations is the supreme form of emuna. This is because the speaker declares his belief that everything Hashem does is merciful and for the best whether he understands it or not. When a person thanks Hashem for his troubles this is not natural. Therefore Hashem says “I’m going to override nature and give this person a miraculous salvation!”
Emuna and gratitude elicit Divine Compassion
I recently had the privilege of attending a lecture by Rav Arush who was on a North American speaking tour. He told two stories that illustrate these principles.
A young married couple each separately visited doctors and found out that they were unable to have children. Shocked and filled with despair, they went to see Rav Arush and asked what to do. He told them each to go to opposite sides of the room and begin saying to Hashem, thank you that we don't yet have children.
They did this faithfully and repeatedly. Today they have two children. In fact, the young father was in the audience with us that night!
Earlier in the month Rav Arush was in Toronto. A man came all the way from Calgary to say thank you to him. The man had been diagnosed with a severely debilitating disease. He was frantic and did not know what to do as she was 35 years old and had four children.
Then, he remembered that the Rav had written in the book Garden of Gratitude to thank Hashem for one's troubles. He proceeded to go out daily in the freezing, snowy weather to walk, talk to Hashem and thank Him for his illness.
The man showed Rav Arush his iPhone displaying a picture of a box with 60 pills. He said he had to take these pills regularly for excruciating pain caused by his illness. He said that he has thrown the pills away and now doctors say he is 85 to 90% cured!
May we utilize the approach to prayer demonstrated by Rachel and Leah and in the amazing true life experiences recounted by Rav Arush. This twin approach of complete dependence on Hashem and thanking him for the good as well as the seemingly bad can work miracles for you too!  In the merit of this may Hashem answer our prayers and show compassion and mercy to all Israel, Amen.

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