Devarim: The Candy Man
In Moses's bit of stiff scolding, he is showing his overflowing love for the Jewish People. He's telling us that we don't know the secret of the 'Candy Man'...
by Rabbi Lazer Brody
"Take care lest you forget Hashem, your G-d...and your heart will become haughty and you will forget Hashem, your G-d" (Deuteronomy 8:11-14)
Little Mikey came home with straight A's on his second-grade report card, but even better than that were his "excellent" scores in conduct and character. In the teacher's own handwriting, she raved about what a wonderful child Mikey is – a credit to his parents.
Delighted, Mikey's parents asked him what he wanted for a reward. Mikey, from a family of healthy eaters, rarely tasted sweets other than a date or a honey-granola cookie. "Please, Mommy and Daddy, take me to the candy store."
"OK Mikey," they smiled. "We'll let you pick from those healthy Swiss chocolates, and you can pick out as much as you can hold."
Joyfully, they entered the candy store, which was permeated with the sweet scent of chocolate, cloves and cinnamon. Mikey's parents told the proprietor about their deal with their son. The three adults took Mikey to the Swiss chocolate section and waited for him to fill his hands with as many chocolates as he could carry. Mikey stood motionless, not making a single move despite the tantalizing goodies that were on display before his google-wide eyes.
After a few moments of suspense, Mikey's father said, "Son, don't be embarrassed. Take whatever you want. Daddy will pay for it."
"Go ahead," Mommy added.
"I'm at your service, Mikey", smiled the kind-looking proprietor, the type of super-nice individual who loves everyone, especially his little customers.
Mikey stammered, then answered Daddy who once again prodded him to make his choice. "Daddy, I have the little hands of a seven-year-old. How many bars of chocolate can I possibly hold? Three or four in each hand? That's barely a week's supply! The candy man said that he's at my service – I want him to put as many milk-chocolate-nut bars in my arms as I can hold..."
The three adults smiled and consented. Mikey held out his arms and the candy man loaded him up with several nut-filled, almond-filled and peanut filled chocolate bars until Mikey could hold no more...
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In the above passage - a piece of stiff chastisement - Moses is showing his overflowing love for the Jewish People. He's telling us that we don't know the secret of the "Candy Man", our Father in Heaven. We forget that Hashem gives us a living; by doing so, we forfeit the enormous abundance that Hashem – unlimited in His ability – is capable of giving each of us. Rather than relying on Hashem to give us a living, we try to grab whatever "chocolate" we can with our baby-sized hands and lose in doing so. But, when we rely on the "Candy Man", He provides more than we ever dreamed of obtaining.
Moses also teaches us here the definition of arrogance, or haughtiness. Most people think they're humble because they don't brag or show off. But, according to the Torah, arrogance is the attitude of one who thinks that he or she is totally dependent on themselves and on their own efforts. How did they get that way? Simple – they forgot Hashem, for He alone is the One who gives us our health, livelihood and everything else we have in life, with no exceptions.
So, if you want a really good life, turn to the Candy Man with outstretched arms – He will fill them with abundance that you never dreamed of.
Rabbi Lazer Brody was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. After receiving his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1970, he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces regular army, and served in one of the elite special-forces units. He is a decorated combat veteran of two wars and numerous of counter-insurgence and anti-terrorist missions on both sides of Israel's borders.
Rabbi Brody is the English-language editor of Breslev Israel's highly popular English-language website at www.breslev.co.il, and the founder and director of Emuna Outreach. Between Breslov Israel and Emuna Outreach, he devotes his time to spreading emuna and particularly the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev around the globe.
"Lazer Beams," Rabbi Brody's award-winning daily web journal, has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of people around the globe find joy and fulfillment in their lives.