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Be'halot'cha(Numbers 8-12)

Fulfilled Desires

Imagine if we lived in a world where all our desires were fulfilled. Wouldn't that be awesome? Well, maybe we do live in a world like that.

In Numbers 8:2 Aaron HaKohen is commanded to light the holy menorah in the Tabernacle. This is juxtaposed to the preceding passage dealing with the consecration, "chanukah" in Hebrew, of the Tabernacle by the leaders of the tribes. The kohanim, not being an official tribe, were excluded from this ceremony. And even though the entire Temple service belongs to Aaron and his descendants, still he felt left out and disappointed.

The commentaries explain that this juxtaposition was God's way to hint to Aaron that he and his descendants would always be associated with a different "chanukah-consecration" that was destined to come about years later in the times of the struggle against the Greeks. The symbol of that "chanukah" we know as the lighting of a menorah in the home, reminiscent of the miracle done through the menorah at the time of the Hasmoneans.

So strong was Aaron's desire to be a part of the consecration of the Temple, that God fulfilled his desire at a later time. We can't change reality. If it wasn't meant to be that Aaron be involved in the original consecration, nothing can be done. But a strong desire for spirituality, when it comes from the heart, will be fulfilled somehow, sometime. Aaron was compensated for his yearning, albeit centuries later through his descendants.

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Rabban Gamliel said, "Make His desire like it was your desire, so that He'll make your desire His desire." (Avot 2:4)

It is the desire of the Almighty that we reach the greatest heights of spiritual accomplishment. Whenever you have a spiritual aspiration, you are making God's will your will. Whenever you pray for the welfare of humanity, for universal consciousness of His presence, or for others to be happy and healthy, you are making His will your will.

Every prayer that goes up to Heaven may not get answered the way we want it to, not in the time or place we want it to, but it doesn't just dissipate into the atmosphere. That's not how the spiritual realm works. Every prayer, every good desire, gets logged in and inevitably has some effect. The heavenly balance of justice demands it.

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Infinity is a hard thing to grasp. Our mind is finite, so we have limited ability to understand the infiniteness of the Almighty. But our abilities and desires are entwined with His. If He has unlimited capacity to fulfill His own desires, and we make our desires His desires, then we have unlimited capacity in our own life. Obviously, the way God created the universe leaves us generally speaking with natural limitations at every turn, but that need not leave us in a realm completely circumspect by gravity and other "laws" of nature.

We are cautioned by our Sages not to rely on a miracle, but miracles small and large do occur constantly. Sometimes they are seen, sometimes not.

When it comes to our ability to grow spiritually, we, more likely than not, sell ourselves way too short. If the Almighty wills it, is there anything you couldn't accomplish?

Take a good look at your personality, your yearning for spiritual growth. How strong is it? Do you assess your potential to become holy and righteous on your past deeds and the strength of your yearning? "I'm just not designed to be like Abraham or Moses, Sarah or Rivka," some people think.

Well, guess what: Who do you think made you the way you are? God commands you to be holy, so you must have it in you. And if you don't, you can pray for Him to give you more potential. Chances are if you're built like Danny DeVito, you're not going to become the size of Shaquille O'Neal. Yet spiritual potential can and will change if you desire it badly enough, and if you pray hard enough. It won't be just your desire; it will be the desire of God.

[On a side note, look at Numbers 11:4 and 11:18 to see how negative desires are also fulfilled, but in an unpleasant way. We have to be very careful about our desires. As the sages say, "For the one who comes to purify himself, we come to his assistance; for the one who comes to impurify himself, we open the door."]

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Spiritual Exercise:

Picture in your mind what you think you could become spiritually. Then picture in your mind what you could become with the help of the Almighty. Then make some plans.

May 30, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 3

(2) J. Haldane, June 7, 2012 4:48 PM

Doesn't it come from Hashem?

Rabbi Weiman writes: >> As the sages say, "For the one who comes to purify himself, we come to his assistance...">> Doesn't the passage mean that Hashem comes to assist, not we? Also, I doubt that Rabban Gamliel spoke English as poorly as R. Weiman suggests. "Make His desire like it was your desire" should be rendered "as if" not "like." I am not an English teacher but I have a friend who wrote a great book on the subject of writing like news.

(1) Prof Bill Bramscher, May 24, 2010 9:24 PM

We Need to Hear About Answered Prayers

052410 Thank you Rabbi Weiman, we need all ways be reminded about prayers being answered, and our spiritual potential. Sometime He answers 'yes,' sometimes, 'no,' sometimes, 'not now,' but He always answers. . . Prof Bill

Laya, June 5, 2012 3:17 AM

answers from G.d

There are three possible answers to our prayers: "yes" "not yet" and "I have something better for you" ;-)

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