Tefillah Tips: Ashrei XVIII

“עיני כל אליך ישברו, ואתה נותן להם את אכלם בעתו – All eyes  hope unto you, and You provide them sustenance at its appropriate time.”

The Talmud Ketubot 67B states that it would have been grammatically correct for the verse to read את אכלם בעתם –Sustenance at the appropriate time for them and not את אכלם בעתו– Sustenance at its appropriate time. The reason the verse is written specifically this way is to accentuate that Hashem does not simply provide sustenance, rather He provides the right type of nourishment at the right time to every living being that is in need. Some creatures eat at night, others in the day, still others only drink liquids; G-d’s sustains all creatures with what they need to survive: ואתה נותן להם את אכלם בעתו.

Rav Miller zt”l explains the relationship between the first phrase, עיני כל אליך ישברו – All eyes  hope unto you, and the latter one, ואתה נותן להם את אכלם בעתו – and You give them their food in its time. The connection of the two ideas demonstrates that Sustenance in G-d’s world has always been provided in a way that one must hope and pray for it. The Torah states at the beginning of the second chapter of Breishit, verse 5 “… the trees did not grow, the grass did not sprout and the rain did not fall since man did not yet work the soil.”  The Talmud in Chullin 60B explains that the work that was missing was the hope and prayers of Adam. Once Adam began praying the world came into motion and sustenance was provided. The Torah also teaches in Shmot 16 that the wondrous Manna was provided by Hashem every day anew. Why wasn’t the supply for a few days, a week, or even a month provided at once? The reason is so that Bnei Yisroel could and would hope for it, pray for it, and be reminded daily that sustenance comes from Hashem.

Take Home Tip: As we pick up our food in our right hands (left hands if you are a lefty) in order to recite the appropriate blessing before eating, let’s reflect on this verse that teaches that this particular food has been provided just for me from Hashem at this time. I am therefore grateful and appreciative and hope that I will again merit receiving G-d’s blessing again soon.

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