Praying: Before And After
"And you shall eat and be satisfied, and you shall bless YHVH your Elohim for the good land which He gave to you." Deuteronomy 8:10
This commandment instructs us to bless YHVH after a meal, and acknowledge all that He has done for us.
The specified time for this blessing is significant. Don't we feel most thankful before the meal? Shouldn't we say the blessing when we're hungry? Most blessings are said before rather than after we eat. Why is this commandment different?
The command to say the blessing at the end of the meal reflects the Torah's profound insight into human nature. Yes, it is easier to thank Him before the meal, and that is exactly the point.
The Torah implies that after we are satisfied, we can make a tragic mistake.
"Guard yourselves lest you forget YHVH
your Elohim, lest you eat and be satisfied, and build good houses and dwell therein, and you instill pride in your hearts and forget YHVH your Elohim who took you out from Egypt, from the house of slavery, and you say in your hearts, my strength and the might of my hand made me all of this great wealth." Deuteronomy 8:11-17
This way, when we bless YHVH we avoid the false claim that our own abilities brought us these blessings.
The story is told of a woman late for a business appointment. Caught in traffic, she began to pray. "YHVH, help me get there, and I'll light candles every Sabbath." At that moment the police opened a lane around the accident and she got through. She hit a long line at a toll. "YHVH, help me get there, and I'll be more honest in my business." A new lane opened, and she went through. With three minutes to go, there was no parking space to be found. "YHVH,
help me get there, and I'll even stop gossiping." At that moment, someone exited a nearby store, and pulled out from the space directly opposite the building entrance.
With moments to spare, she got to the office. "It's ok, YHVH. I worked it out myself."
This is why the Torah calls upon us to remember YHVH specifically when His blessings have reached us, so that we do not look upon the areas where we have been successful and claim, "I did it myself."