God Gives Us What We Need

Yael Eckstein  |  July 8, 2021

Ein Radian oasis, 1950
Ein Radian oasis, 1950

They left Marah and went to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. Numbers 33:9

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is a double reading, Matot-Massei, from Numbers 30:2–36:13. Matot means “branches,” and Massei means “journeys.”

As President and CEO of the largest humanitarian nonprofit organization in Israel, I spend a lot of time with people who are in need. As I’m helping a struggling immigrant family or holding the hand of an elderly Holocaust survivor suffering from poverty, the words of Psalm 145 always come to mind: “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing” (v. 16).

The words of King David give me the confidence that God is a loving father who knows what is best and gives everyone exactly what they need.

In today’s parshah reading, we find the children of Israel at the end of their forty-year journey through the desert and Moses reviewing the more than forty places where the children of Israel camped during the journey. This one verse, in particular, stood out to me: “They left Marah and went to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there” (Numbers 33:9).

At Marah, the children of Israel found water that was too bitter to drink, so they cried out to Moses, who, with God’s instructions, performed a miracle and the water became sweetened. (See Exodus 15:23-26). Then they camped at Elim, “where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees.”

God Gives Us What We Need

Jewish tradition teaches that the twelve springs were for the twelve tribes of Israel and the seventy date palms represented the seventy elders of Israel. In other words, it was the perfect place, custom-made for Israel!

After the bitter waters of Marah, God’s message was clear: “Just as I gave you exactly what you needed in Elim, I also gave you exactly what you needed at Marah, and everywhere else on your journey.”

Each of us has many stops along the way in our journey through life. Sometimes we encounter hardship that makes us wonder if God has forgotten us, just like the children of Israel at Marah. But then God brings us to our own personal Elim. He reminds us that He is there and that He always gives us exactly what we need.

Your Turn:

Think about the gifts that God has given you. Thank Him for giving you exactly what you need.

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