‘If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a wonder and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you happens, [and he] says, "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us worship them," You shall not heed the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream; for the L-rd, your G-d, is testing you, to know whether you really love the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul.’ (perek 13)
In Parashat Re’eh, HaKadosh Barukh Hu warns us not to trade in our commitment to Him for something perceived in a vision of the future. We are not to become slaves of the world around us based on extrapolations of time created only in our own minds. What do I mean?
Sometimes, we trade in what we have in our hands already because we think we will acquire something much greater later on based on what we are conditioned to think the future will be. This is what the pasuk is speaking about. We are warned not to exchange our love and commitment to HaShem based on a conclusion made about the future, even if it looks guaranteed to us, and logically proven to be so. Often times, we think we know what the future will be because it repetitively happened in the past. Just because something happened many times, by no means can we guarantee that life will continue to take that path. Past occurrences should not serve as an oracle for the future. This is the delusion by which the human mind is narrowed.
Think to yourself, HOW MANY TIMES DO WE GIVE UP WHAT WE HAVE TODAY BECAUSE WE THINK WE WILL HAVE A BETTER TOMORROW? How many times do we repress our ambitions, miss opportunities, and sacrifice precious time because we think we know what the future will be and shape our present day based on something that did not even happen yet? HaShem Yitbarakh warns us not to fall victim to this fabrication of the imagination; these are all tests coming from Him, and we must ensure that we pass them every time.
We cannot give up the opportunities we have TODAY because we are unsure of what will be tomorrow. Likewise, we cannot direct and mold our lives based on what we think the future will be. Think about it: we don’t know for sure if there is an Olam Habah (life after this world), does this stop us from doing missvot and becoming closer to our Creator and Master? It shouldn’t.
Like the false prophet, It is not our job to determine the future; we must only try to understand the present situation that we are given. We must loosen our grip and stop trying to be in control of things that do not lie in our hands. Just because we want our future to turn out a certain way does not mean by any means that it has to be so. This is something that we have to earnestly internalize. Do not ever allow your past of future to set a limit on your potential that you have today. If you want to achieve something, put your ENTIRE self into it and do it TODAY.
I often say that sometimes, life is like standing behind a glass window. We stand behind it observing the entire world, inspecting and analyzing and wanting to change things everywhere because we think that is how it will operate best. But as much as we scream and yell and jump up and down and wave our arms, NOBODY CAN HEAR US, nothing will change. After all, we are behind a glass wall, remember? Our time would be better spent pleasantly observing the passersby, maybe exchanging a smile, taking in what we can in order to better ourselves in order to become closer to HaShem Yitbarakh.
This is our test. How much Emunah do we have in HaShem that we stop trying to determine our futures and let Him take the lead? That even if we think we see signs and allusions, we close our eyes but open our hearts to what HaShem really wants for us. This is true love for HaShem. The pasuk says ‘with all your heart and all our soul’; NOT with your mind. We don’t need to do any calculations. HaShem tells us with our hands we should kill that prophet who pretends he knows what the future is and based on that tries to change your commitments; somebody who lives their life that way is deserving of death.
Remember, don't ever make today the collateral for tomorrow; there will always be a tomorrow, but you will never get your collateral of today back. Don’t make today tomorrow's yesterday before the day passes. Just live in the moment and break away all shackles of time that we tend to be bound by. Every second is an opportunity to grow.
Be’ezrat HaShem may we all have the clarity to realize this and the strength to internalize this.
Wishing everybody a Shabbat Shalom u’Mevorakh!