Complaints and Requests

פרשת בשלח
testimonial placeholder
Written by:
Rabbi Yehuda Chanales
Access editable doc with student handouts:

שמות פרק טו

  1. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”

25. So he cried out to Hashem, and Hashem showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water and the water became sweet. There [Hashem] made for them a fixed rule; there they were put to the test.

כד וַיִּלֹּ֧נוּ הָעָ֛ם עַל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹ֖ר מַה־נִּשְׁתֶּֽה׃ 

כה וַיִּצְעַ֣ק אֶל־ה' וַיּוֹרֵ֤הוּ ה' עֵ֔ץ וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ֙ 

אֶל־הַמַּ֔יִם וַֽיִּמְתְּק֖וּ הַמָּ֑יִם 

שָׁ֣ם שָׂ֥ם ל֛וֹ חֹ֥ק וּמִשְׁפָּ֖ט וְשָׁ֥ם נִסָּֽהוּ׃

ושם ניסהו- לעם. וראה קושי ערפו שלא נמלכו (approach, ask of) ממשה בלשון יפה: בקש עלינו שיהו לנו מים לשתות, אלא נתלוננו

AND THERE HE TESTED THEM — “him” (singular) means the people; and He saw their stubbornness: that they did not consult with Moses in a respectful fashion: “Request mercy for us that we may have water to drink” — but that they complained.

ליסרם בחוקי המדבר לסבול הרעב והצמא ולזעוק אל ה' ולא דרך תלונה 

  1. What mistake did the Jewish people make in this story? What should have they done instead? 
  2. What do you think the difference is between being מתלונן and being a מבקש?
  3. What might drive someone to approach a challenge one way or another?

Moving from תלונה to בקשה:

  1. Chavruta asks: What is something that you often (or even sometimes) find yourself complaining about? What is your תלונה?  (Presenter responds and explains their complaint.)
  2. What do you want?  (Presenter answers)
  3. Chavruta reflects back to the presenter what they said and adds “so that - what? What would happen if you got what you want?” (Presenter answers)
  4. Chavruta reflects back to the presenter what they said and add “so that- what? What would happen if you got what you want?” (Presenters answers)
  5. Chavruta asks: So what is your בקשה? What do you really want? (Presenter answers) 
  6. Once you have helped uncover your chavruta’s tefillah, daven to Hashem on their behalf.
  7. Ask for your chavruta’s Hebrew name and say..
  8. Hashem, please help (insert name)  with (insert bakasha).
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Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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