Saturday, January 10, 2015

Basking In A Blessing

DEC 2012
Forgive the disjointedness of this posting. it's 4am, and I haven't slept yet. I'll clean it up later.

Do you remember how awesome Avraham was in Bereshit? I truly think, as far as all the Patriarchs go, he was Gd's favorite. Whatever Gd asked of him he did. Lech Lecha. Performing acts of hospitality after he performs a brit mila on himself. It's no wonder that that when he stands at the edge of the city of Gemmorah, Gd does not get angry with Avraham when haggles with Gd, convincing Gd to let him find just one worthy person from the city, so that all may be spared. Avraham was so willing to follow Gd's commands that he agrees to take his son, his only son, the one whom he loves to a place where Gd will instruct him, and sacrifice Isaac. What other father would saddle his ass, and sets out to the place where he is told to go right after given the command, without hesitation? It is with this unwavering faith that Avraham sets out to raise up a mighty nation. After his death, Gd performs an interesting act, he blesses Isaac. Commentary states that he does this to pass onto Isaac the blessing that Avraham had received. Isaac, in turn, accepts this blessing.

Fast forward to the beginning of Sh'mot, after we learn that the Israelites are suffering under Pharos rule, and they cry out to GD. The next thing we learn, is that Gd remembers his covenant that He made with Avraham, and the nation of Israel. I usually interpret this as GD forgets, and then remembers. Then I recall something I learned from Ramchal (Rabbi Lazzato) in his book Mesilat Yesherim. Gd's presence is constant. When we turn away from Gd, he remains present, but withdraws His hand. When we turn towards Gd, cry out, sending forth a prayer, Gd stretches out his hand. So why does it take so long for Gd to stretch out His hand? Perhaps there was no one there to accept his blessing. It's possible that when Gd blessed Isaac, the next thing that occurred was that Isaac accepted His blessing. So, perhaps Gd had offered his blessing to Israelite, after Israelite, but none would accept, and therefore, it wasn't until Moshe that at first would not accept Gd's blessing, but finally relents and voila, Israel is brought forth from bondage.

Our relationship with Gd is unique. Although, He is always present, it is up to each of us to offer up a prayer, cry out, and when Gd stretches out His hand to offer his blessing, take hold. Friday night, when your candles are lit, and you are basking in the holiness that is Shabbat, remember to also bask in Gd's blessing.