December 3, 2020 / 17 Kislev, 5781 • Parshat Vayishlach
Issue 643
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Selfless Prayer

Jacob began his prayer, I am no longer worthy, due to all the acts of kindness and trustworthiness that You have done for me, Your servant.

Bereishit 32:11

Although Jacob was certainly aware of his many merits, he was also able to rise above natural human shortsightedness and realize how infinitely indebted we are all to G-d. With this perspective, Jacob humbly assumed that his merits were insufficient to deserve G-d’s protection. Therefore, he petitioned G-d to save him and his family not on account of his own merits—although he was indeed worthy—but out of G-d's pure kindness.

Following Jacob’s example, whenever we ask something of G-d, we too should appeal solely to His kindness and compassion. If we ask for assistance based on our worthiness—and we all certainly possess many merits—G-d’s response will be limited to the extent of our worthiness. But when we humbly disregard our worthiness, demonstrating that we, like Jacob, have risen above our natural shortsightedness, G-d will respond with blessings that transcend the natural order.

—from Daily Wisdom #1