"See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." - Exodus 23:20
The Torah portion for this week is Mishpatim, which means "laws," from Exodus 21:1-24:18, and the Haftorah is from Jeremiah 34:8-22.
Most of us spend a lot of time and energy trying to prepare for the future. Really, what we are trying to do is predict the future so that we can be prepared for whatever may come our way. The problem is that we can't possibly know what's going to happen in the future. However, the good news is that we don't have to. We can't know what tomorrow will bring, but God does, and He is already preparing the way for us.
I love this verse in this week's reading: "See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." God sends angels ahead of us to protect us and to prepare the way so that we can reach the place that God intends for us. All that planning and guessing on what the future might bring is a waste of time. God knows where we need to be better than we know. God knows how to get us there better than we do. And God already has His angels at work making it all happen.
I am reminded of something that happened in the early 2000s, when the Second Intifada held much of Israel in a tight grip of terror. There was one family with small children that was having a particularly stressful experience, as much of the horror was happening close to their home. At the same time, the father, an accomplished rabbi and teacher, had been offered a post in an American Jewish school for two years. The family felt that this was the right move at the right time and took the position.
A few months into their stay in Florida, the parents got a call from their daughter's teacher. It turned out that the teacher had once had a rare brain tumor. The only symptom had been that she laughed at inappropriate times and for too long. What concerned the teacher was that the couple's daughter was displaying those same symptoms. Long story short, due to that teacher's awareness, that little girl was diagnosed early on with that same rare tumor and her life was spared. God had prepared the way for that family so that they would be in the right place at the right time for their daughter's life to be saved.
I want to encourage us to stress less and trust God more. He already is preparing our way - all we need to do is get out of His way and let Him do His job. Our job is to simply trust Him unwaveringly.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President