Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It Takes Time

Let my teaching fall like rain
      and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
      like abundant rain on tender plants.” — 
Deuteronomy 32:2

The Torah portion for this week is Ha’azinu, which means “listen,” from Deuteronomy 32:1–52, and the Haftorah is from 2 Samuel 22:1–51.

In this week’s reading, Moses continued his final message to the people. He prayed: “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” As Moses taught the people the Word of God, it was life-giving like rain and life-supporting like dew.

Rain and dew are God’s ways of sustaining life. God’s rains make it possible for plants to grow, trees to thrive, and vegetation to sprout. In the same way, God’s Word allows a person to thrive in any circumstance. Studying the Bible enables us to blossom and grow. We also need to study the Bible regularly, just as dew nurtures the earth daily. We don’t need to spend a lot of time every day, but we do need to study consistently. In this way we will remain fresh and renewed always. In addition, just as a good rain shower is beneficial to vegetation, we also need to shower ourselves in more intense Bible study every so often.

Indeed, rain and dew are good analogies that drive home the importance of studying God’s Word. However, I think there is another lesson in this teaching as well. While rain helps trees and plants to grow, we must not forget that it takes time to see the benefits.

Perhaps, you or your child did the classic grade school experiment with a lima bean soaked in a wet tissue. The goal is to illustrate to children how things grow. They bring home the bean in a cup ready to watch it grow. They wait and they wait and then they wait some more. Is anything happening? Is something wrong? Will the bean ever sprout and grow?

Eventually, there is a breakthrough as a small green shoot starts to peep through the wet tissue. While the bean has been changing and developing all along, it takes some time until we can see the results.

It’s the same when it comes to studying and living out God’s Word. It’s powerful, life-changing, and life-giving, but we have to be patient with ourselves and with others when we want to see something change. It’s easy to get discouraged and give up, but we need to wait with faith and obedience. When the time is right, we will see the fruits of our labor.

This week, let’s make sure that we are getting enough “rainfall” and “dew” in our lives. Let’s establish fixed times to study and take steps to continue our learning on a deeper level. When we nurture our souls with the Word of God, we will undoubtedly thrive in our lives – it’s just a matter of time.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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