Past Weekly Shabbat Message
Rabbi Dovid Saks
(Torah Portion Vaeschanan) Every Step You Take
Do you ever wonder if what we do spiritually really makes a difference?
Let me share with you a fascinating incident recorded in the Book of Kings and expounded upon in the Talmud and commentaries, which conveys to us that every minute step we take in the right direction can earn us great rewards.
King Chizkiyahu lived during the first Temple era; he was spectacular and righteous. Chizkiyahu did not become righteous hereditarily since his father, King Achaz, was a terribly wicked person.
In fact, on the day Achaz died, daylight reigned for only two hours so that his funeral would be conducted hastily and in a non dignified manner.
Chizkiyahu contracted a dreadful illness just as the Assyrian King Sanchairev sent 185,000 troops to besiege the city of Jerusalem. On the third day of his illness, Isaiah the prophet came to Chizkiyahu and told him that he was going to die. Chizkiyahu prayed sincerely; G-d heard his prayers and instructed Isaiah to tell Chizkiyahu that he will be granted an additional fifteen years of life.
Isaiah told him that proof that the blessing would be fulfilled was that the 10 hours of the day that were lost on the day of his father Achaz’s death, would be restored. This indeed transpired. Miraculously, that night, an angel came and killed all 185,000 of Sancharev’s warriors!
There was a king in Babylonia named Merodech. Incidentally, Merodech is referred to in the Prophets as Beladan the son of Baladan. This is because due to the wickedness of Merodech’s father, King Baladan, his face turned to that of a dog. When his son Merodech assumed his position, in order to ‘save face’ for his father, he assumed the name Baladan.
King Merodech was accustomed to wake in the third hour of the day, eat, and then go back to sleep until the ninth hour of the day.
On the day that the sun’s sphere went backwards 10 hours, Merodech woke up at nine hours in the day, and found that it was morning. He sought to kill his servants stating, “You let me sleep a day and night!” They responded, “The sphere of the sun went backward.” He asked, “Who brought it back?” They said, “The G-d of Chizkiyahu.”
Since Merodech worshipped the sun, he was astounded to hear that Chizkiyahu’s G-d overruled his god, the sun.
Merodech immediately wrote a letter and sent a gift to Chizkiyahu. The Medrash relates that Merodech wrote, “Shalom to Chizkiyahu, Shalom to Jerusalem and Shalom to his great G-d.”
After he sent off the letter with a messenger, Merodech had second thoughts, “Perhaps I didn’t address it correctly?” He got off his throne and took three steps to retrieve the letter. He redrafted the letter by first asking for peace to G-d, peace for Jerusalem and peace onto Chizkiyahu.
G-d said, “Because Merodech got up and took three steps in My honor, I will grant him with three descendants that will rule the entire globe, Nevuchadnetzar, Avil-Merodech and Balshetzar.”
There is an astounding message from this incident: If when the Babylonian King Merodech rose from his throne and walked just three steps in G-d’s honor, he was rewarded handsomely for his deed, surely when we take into account the many words of prayer, the many steps, measures and expenditures we take in G-d’s honor to fulfill His Mitzvos on a hourly, daily and weekly basis, how incredible and beyond belief will be our rewards and blessings for our continuous efforts towards G-d’s honor!
What we do really makes a difference!
Wishing you a restful, peaceful
and inspirational Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks