riding the waves… not alone.

Take It As It Comes
By Rabbi Ben A.

“Be wholehearted with your G-d”—Deuteronomy 18:13.

In this week’s portion we are told, “There shall not be found among you… a soothsayer, a diviner of times, one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or a charmer…” We are then told – immediately in the next verse – to be “wholehearted” with G-d.

What is the connection between the prohibitions against various occult practices and the commandment to be wholehearted with G-d? And what does it mean to be wholehearted with G-d?

First let’s understand the various prohibitions enumerated in this reading. As modern, so-called “enlightened” individuals, we may discount these warnings as something out-dated, something that was told to our ancestors—but does not pertain to us. After all, we think, who runs after soothsayers and sorcerers to tell them their fortune nowadays? But let’s examine the underlying psychology that drove the ancients to seek a stolen glimpse into the future. Are we really immune from the very same weakness—a preoccupation with what is yet to come?

We worry and fret about outcomes. We expend energy trying to secure that which cannot be guaranteed. Oh, the price we would pay just to have certainty about the future, but to no avail.

Thus, we are told to be “wholehearted” with G-d—to leave the future up to Him and to accept life as it comes. After all, isn’t it enough just to know that He is in perfect control? Why should we prefer to have foreknowledge of His plans? Why don’t we realize that whatever He chooses will be best?

If we cannot give up our worries about the future, then it seems that our trust in Him is tenuous, conditional and half-hearted. What we are really telling G-d is that our relationship with Him is conditional.

Think of a marriage. If your spouse were to suddenly whisk you away on an impetuous romantic getaway, would you first demand to know what the plans were? To do so would mean being more interested in how the time will be spent than with whom it will be shared. True love means that time shared with one’s beloved is always time well spent—whatever happens, whatever we are doing and wherever we go.

If G-d were to speak to you and invite you to live in His presence, to follow Him at every turn, would you ask Him first where He plans on taking you? Before agreeing, would you first ask for an itinerary?

We rely on our relationship with G-d for our very survival. We cannot afford to let that relationship be half-hearted. We need to stay in the present and let the One who is above time worry about what is to come. Our wholehearted commitment to Him means that we are ready to joyfully and fearlessly accept whatever He may bring us, for we trust that ultimately, whatever happens, He is with us and He is running the show.

That is all we need to know.

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