Every worry on our part portrays a lack of trust in Him
“And Hashem opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water, and she went and filled the pouch with water and gave the lad to drink.” (Bereishis 21:19)
The Midrash says that by filling up her pitcher, Hagar showed a lack of emunah. But she was alone in the desert with a sick child. Wasn’t this a reasonable action?
However, for Hagar, who left her royal family to be part of Avraham’s family, this act was not befitting of her level of emunah. She overstepped the fine line between the obligation of hishtadlus and trusting Hashem to provide. (Rav Yehudah Leib Chasman, Ohr Yahel)
The gloom-and-doom day came out of the nowhere. The weather was beautiful; my mood wasn’t. I felt like the weight of the world and all its inhabitants were perched right on top of my aching shoulders.
There were practical issues. Spiritual malaise. Heartaches. Headaches. And the kids. Never-ceasing, never-ending concern about the kids.
I remember when I gave birth to my first. An older friend, the mother of many, wished me mazel tov and said, “Welcome to the world of worry.” What an initiation to motherhood.
Imagine someone traveling with a rich benevolent king who promises to provide for all the needs of his traveling companions. Wouldn’t it be a chutzpah if the traveler brought along his own food bag, just in case?
Similarly, we’re traveling this world with the King of all Kings. Therefore, every worry on our part portrays a lack of trust in Him.
After Hagar witnessed the miracle of a spring of water appearing just for her in the desert, she could see that Hashem was with her and understand that He would continue to provide for her. So why fill up a pitcher?
An active imagination is fertile grounds for fretting. Yet I try to keep things in perspective, focusing on action as opposed to anxiety.
But today was a day where I felt all avenues were closed. There were too many issues with no clear solutions. I was wallowing in worry.
Suddenly I had an epiphany.
Sitting down at my desk, I picked up a stack of brightly colored Post-its. Separating several, I wrote the name of each of my children on a separate Post-it and then the #1 worry that was plaguing me that day. I folded each Post-it tightly. Then I was stuck. What should I do with them?
I had a sudden urge to go to the sea and cast them over the waves. But the nearest beach is an hour’s drive. Thankfully, I curbed that impulse. But I still felt a need to do something with these missives. Send them off to Shamayim? I wondered what my neighbors would say if I stood in middle of the street throwing brightly colored notes heavenward.
The Gemara (Megillah 18a) quotes Tehillim (55:23): “Cast your burden on Hashem and He will bear you.” Says Rava bar bar Chana, “One time I was walking with a merchant, and I was carrying a heavy burden. He told me, ‘Throw your burden onto my camel.’ ”
Once a person throws off the burden he’s carrying, he longer feels its weight. Such is bitachon in Hashem. As long as a person feels the weight of his worries in Olam Hazeh, then it’s clear he has not properly cast his burden Heavenward.
Inspiration struck again.
I reached deep into the back of our seforim shrank and pulled out a small leather-bound siddur I’d received as a bas mitzvah gift from my parents. The once-white leather cover was now gray, torn, and faded. The pages were yellowed with age and tears. So many tears. This was the siddur I’d used all through high school and my single years. How many tears had I shed with the intensity of a teen? How many times had I prayed to be in this exact position I was in now — a wife, a mother — with a family and all the concerns and care that come with it?
I caressed the siddur softly, then took my little Post-its. I placed each one into a separate page of the siddur, like a small gift, then kissed its soft cover and placed it back on the bookshelf.
Gloom and doom dissipated. The weather was beautiful; I was glad I was here.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 667)