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Torah Portion of Va'etchanan - God as ATM?

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11

A part of the Torah Portion:

Moshe pleads with G-d to enter the Holy Land, but is turned down. (Remember, G-d always answers your prayers -- sometimes with a "yes," sometimes with a "no" ... and sometimes with a "not yet".) Moshe commands the Children of Israel not to add or subtract from the words of the Torah and to keep all of the Commandments. He then reminds them that God has no shape or form and that we should not make or worship idols of any kind.

For Noahides

When we pray to G-d, when we ask G-d for something, we want Him to grant our prayer. However G-d is not an ATM where you type in a code and receive the amount you want. Why do we receive a "no"?

A prayer can sometimes receive a "no" as an answer because we are not in good contact with G-d, we are not observing the 7 Mitzvot and G-d is using a - in our eyes - negative situation to wake us up. We must then ask ourselves what can we learn from this situation.

A prayer can sometimes get a "no" because G-d oversees the bigger picture of our lives. What we think is right for ourselves may turn out to be completely wrong in the long run. G-d is the All-Good, so He gives us exactly what is good for us.

A prayer can sometimes feel like a "no", although G-d grants our prayer it is not a magic wand that paves our way right away. Sometimes a prayer is only "answered" if you yourself make an effort to change the situation or to achieve a desired result.

It is "easy" to pray when we need "something" from G-d, and in our distress it is certainly good to pray. However, let us especially remember to pray when we don't need anything or when we want to thank G-d or when we just want to have a "chat".

Prayer is the way to serve G-d with the heart (Deutr. 11:13). It is the way to acknowledge that G-d is the Only One Who leads the world, and it is therefore appropriate to thank Him for all His goodness and all His blessings that He gives every moment. Experiencing a "lack" is easy, but recognizing all that we are given, we sometimes easily forget and experience as "normal."

In addition, prayer is the means for a person to strengthen his relationship with and trust in G-d and by telling G-d his ways of the day, to correct and improve his ways.

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners en intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.



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