My name מתנה, Matana was taken from last week’s Torah portion (which was read a week earlier in Israel)
“וממדבר מתנה וממתנה נחליאל “
Growing up, my mother would often repeat the following quote, “Words have power – be careful how you use them. Words make things a reality.” I believed it somewhat, yet did not totally internalize the magnitude of the meaning behind it.
A few days ago, I was speaking about the power of Breath-work and it got me thinking about breath and where it all began. In the beginning when G-d created man, he breathed a breath of life into his lungs. This imparted a spark of G-d’s own Being into man.
What differentiated man from the animals that had been placed on Earth before him? The answer lay in the power of speech and the cognitive power of forming words and imparting thoughts.
My mother’s words rose to my consciousness and I was struck by an idea…
Thoughts certainly have power, but words contain within them even more…
Words have an incredible energy and more especially do the words of prayer. There are many sources in the Bible which point to this phenomena.
To start off, God created the world with 10 Utterances.
I am reminded of the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel, when he prayed that a fire should come down and consume his sacrifice. Joshua prayed that the sun should not set in Givon.
Chizkiyahu the king, who was on his deathbed prayed that G-d should reverse his death sentence.
When the Jewish nation was in the desert and wanted food, Moses prayed and the manna came from heaven. They complained about the manna and Moses prayed and they were inundated with fowl. Prayer proved itself again and again. Then when Miriam died, the wellspring which accompanied them in the desert no longer gave forth water. The Jewish people cried and Moses prayed. G-d instructed Moses to speak to the rock and it would flow with water. G-d wished to teach the Jews the power of prayer and the power of words.
But, Moses struck the rock and this all powerful lesson was lost. As a result, G-d decreed that Moses would not enter the Holy Land. After leading the Jews out of Egypt and shepherding them for forty years in the desert, Moses would not be able to enter the land he so much wanted to see. He begged and pleaded with G-d and prayed time and time again. Our commentaries teach that he prayed 515 times until G-d ordered him to stop. If Moses would pray one more prayer, it would cause the inevitable reversal of the decree. This, G-d in His infinite wisdom knew, was not for the benefit of His people and so he demanded of Moses to cease and desist from using the powerful force of prayer.
Another interesting point from this story – Moses did not begin to pray immediately upon hearing the decree. Why? A commentary states that Moses, who had sacrificed and stood up for the Jewish nation many times and achieved forgiveness for them, waited for this very nation to stand up and pray on his behalf now that a decree had been issued against him. When Moses saw that they did not take the initiative, he himself, once again made use of this very powerful instrument.
G-d had bidden Moses – “teach My people the hidden POWER of words – speak to the rock and it will give forth water.”
Moses eschewed this directive and hit the rock. When Moses did pray to G-d to change the decree, G-d told him, “Moses, don’t come to me asking for forgiveness with the very same power you spurned.”
A BIG light bulb went off in both my mind and heart thinking of these stories. I experienced a big shift in understanding…
When I was young, I was extremely shy. I kept my words to myself. Growing up surrounded by extremely intelligent people, I did not think they would understand or care much about my words. Then, when I turned 19 I found my voice. But when I used it, it had an angry tinge to it..
I was not using it properly. After my confrontation with mental illness, my voice was once again quietened. During this period, I learned that there is indeed a special power in silence and that when using words to be respectful and use them with intention.
Words should build, support, encourage and never destroy, damage or hurt others. In Proverbs, it states:  “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Create the good world you would want to live in through both your prayer and kind words.
People who know me, know that I am deeply into the practice of gratitude. So on my birthday, I want to ask everyone to use their words to create positivity and express gratitude. Thank the Creator, your loved ones, your mentors and leaders.
I have always traveled a great deal, even before I married. When asked where I am going next, I answer, “Wherever G-d leads me.” Yes, I make plans, but ALWAYS with the knowledge that G-d may not sanction them and that He may lead me elsewhere. There is a great comfort in knowing that there is the Ultimate Planner who knows what is really best for me, just like in last week’s Parash which speaks about the Jewish nations traveling by the direction of God.
When people question where we will go next, I always say “God is my Best GPS, I’ll see where God takes us.”
I never connected my personal Relationship with this aspect.
“וממדבר מתנה, ממתנה נחליאל… “
( פרשת חקת, פרק כא’ פסוק יח)
I bless you all on my birthday, that you should have clarity in where you’re going, find contentment, not anguish, and if there IS anguish – to let there also be growth in its wake, peace in your journey, much joy, success, inner and physical health, growth, healthy relationships and abundance. And pay it forward when you are blessed, because it’s really a gift.
What a tremendous privilege to spend my birthday in Israel / Jerusalem with Ari and my family!
I am so incredibly grateful.
Thank YOU HASHEM for the last 46 years!
And thank you Ari from planning this beautiful and meaningful trip FOR ENDLESS HOURS!!
THE HIGHLIGHT of this weekend will be eating dinner tonight by the same people who introduced me to my HUSBAND. These magnificent people and our ‘matchmaker’ is actually Ari’s best friend רפאל קליינמן along with his UNBELIEVABLE AND AMAZING WIFE AND CHILDREN!!!
Ari and I met  for the first time in July, 21 years ago at their home. They needed to do a lot of convincing for us to go on a second date, but once the second date was over I realized that there is something DEEP and meaningful between us both. WE are both COMPLEX people joining the Journey of life together. We took it on as a mission.
So, I’m grateful to spend my birthday where my journey of building a family all began and with people who love and respect Ari so deeply and actually GET HIS MAGNITUDE.

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