Interpersonal relationships are of the most intricate of the many facets of life. Much takes place in this delicate area, yet behind everything stands mainly the question of “how am I related to.” More than anything that one can receive from his fellow man, one is most in need of the simple feeling that ‘I am needed’ and that ‘I am taken notice of’.
A person seeks only one thing – that others relate to him. Many are the ways that people find to attain this, whether explicitly or indirectly, through hints or outright verbally; whatever it takes to get a dose of this most essential vitamin – some attention.
The first of the believers
Ur-Kassdim – the cradle of foolish beliefs and idol worship. Terach, Nimrod and the masses of worshipers; some found a mighty deity in the form of a clump of clay, others identified the creator with a statute carved of wood. Nature’s forces, the stars and constellations, illusions and warped traditions; each man chose his faith as he pleased. Amidst this darkness wandered one small child who was simply not satisfied and asked again and again: “who created all this?”
The first of our forefathers, Avraham Avinu, recognized his creator at the age of three. He searched, contemplated and investigated until he was able to declare with clarity: “this is it!” Initially, the creation had shown no hint of an answer to his question, nothing seemed to indicate the existence of The Creator, of His will and His providence, yet the more he searched, the more The Creator revealed Himself to him. The veil of concealment gradually faded, the false beliefs began to crumble and emunah began to shine forth in the world.
Avraham had no tradition from his ancestors, no leader and no guide. He embarked on his path completely alone and prepared the way for the rest of the world. He taught da’as (holy intellect) and emunah to the masses and brought thousands under the shelter of the shechinah (divine presence). Torah had not yet descended into the world, neither had the mitzvos, yet nevertheless his entire life was one complete succession of d’veikus (cleaving to Hashem). Day after day, night after night, through winter and summer, ups and downs, challenges and opposition; how did Avraham endure all this, around what was his wondrous connection with the creator woven?
Yearning – this is the secret.
Avraham Avinu was the first one to bring knowledge of Hashem to the world. It is he who brought down the first strand that connects the created to The Creator and his whole life was just one long endless desire – to know Hashem.
At the beginning of any book one can find an introduction that outlines the purpose for which it was authored and in essence gives the reader “the bottom line”. The Torah too, has an introduction. Before the Torah describes 613 mitzvos, the positive and negative commandments, it precedes them with the purpose; the main point and intention that is meant to result from fulfilling all that follows.
Avraham Avinu is the introduction. If you desire to know what the focal point of the fulfillment of the Torah is, take a look at our first forefather; on what hinge did the life of the father of our nation revolve, around what where all his thoughts, words and actions centered?
Avraham Avinu directed his entire life to The Creator, even the minutest motion, thought or action was carefully weighed on the scale of: “I place Hashem before me always” (Tehillim). At every possible moment the desire to know Hashem burned inside him and no perception that he attained could quench his soul’s endless thirst. With ten tests did The Creator test his dedication and sincerity, and he stood up to them all with his clear and wondrous conviction of Hashem’s presence.
The first of the circumcised
How does one merit to such an awakened soul? – we all ask ourselves. The drowsiness that envelopes our senses almost constantly transforms our lives into something dark and heavy, how can we be freed from it? The soul is meant to be naturally aflame with passion for every holy thing, if one would know how much he is wanted above, how much they anticipate every truthful thought on his part and how much weight just one word of truth carries, his legs would take him of their own from the shul to the Beis Medrash, from there to the fields and back in a never ending cycle. Yet our blind eyes see nothing of all this.
Sins, transgressions and iniquities are what form this barrier; they do not allow a person to receive that most essential sustenance – to be related to from above. The most desired feeling, the deep sense of “The Creator needs me”, is generally buried beneath a thick layer of wrongdoings and the like.
Avraham Avinu was the first of the creation to identify emunah from within the world of physicality; he achieved this through the bris mila (circumcision). The arlah (foreskin) is the barrier that overshadows the senses and does not allow them to perceive anything beyond dark fantasies of evil. When the arlah is removed the soul is aroused to life. The first of the believers was also the first of the circumcised; he was the first man who was sensible enough to remove the barriers of evil.
Lech Lecha – Go to yourself.
Through yearning and desire, searching and request, Klal Yisroel was born. The yearning that burned inside Avraham Avinu is to be found by way of inheritance inside each one of us. This together with the recognition of Hashem’s existence he passed on to us. Inside every one of us is an awakened soul that is full of desire and searching. We need just remove from upon it the layers of arlah, of forgetfulness and tiredness. The ability for this too we inherited. Every tiny drop of arlah that is removed, every piece of evil, of sadness, of illusion and bewilderment that we cast off, reveals in the heart another hint of spiritual alertness.
Everyone has a soul, everyone has desire and yearning, we need just go there – to ourselves. Nothing can prevent the searching soul from attaining its desire. We must cast aside all that seems imperative, unchangeable or “a part of me” and simply get going.
“Lech Lecha” – is said to each one of us: leave aside all the calculations and fears, the heaviness and depression that are rooted in “ארצך” (your land); the corporeality of the element of earth. Leave a little “מולדתך” (your birth place); the negative character traits and natural tendencies that seem to be an inheritance that threatens to accompany us throughout our lives. Abandon somewhat your “בית אביך” (father’s house); the negative influences and philosophies of your surroundings. Go forth towards your soul’s desire, to where you truly yearn to be.
To this place you will be accompanied by your nekudos toivos (good points), by emunah, bitachon and the ancient call of “lech lecha”. For to your root only you can go, in the light of Hashem’s hashgacha (Divine providence).