In this week’s blog, we look at journeys, our journey in life, and the journey of the children of Israel to Eretz Yisrael.
This parsha brings up a very important matter. How should we actually relate to the Land of Eretz Yisrael? What does it mean to love Eretz Yisrael?
Every day every hour we’re beginning new journeys. The fact of the matter is that we are all on journeys where we go, where we camp, where we settle down, when we start the next journey, that is all in Hashem’s hands, it’s all by His decisions. We need to learn how to journey. We need [to learn how] to daven sincerely.
We are about to enter Eretz Yisrael and we look back at the forty-two journeys it took us to get from Mitzrayim to the Promised Land. These journeys are our journeys, both personal and national throughout our history. Presently we are still in the “wilderness of the nations” [Yechezkel 20:35] and we must not and cannot stop davening.
How do I begin my daily journey, my weekly journey, my Shabbos journey? My family journey, my career journey, how do I do all these things without sidetracking and delaying my arrival at my destination?
We all have a purpose and destination in this world, we want to get there. We are in a relationship with the Ribono Shel Olam – the Master of the World. The question is how long is it going to take, how many times will I be diverted, how many journeys, spirals and loops, turnarounds, ups and downs, and up again, will I have to go through before I get to my destination?
How many more life journeys, how many more steps forward and backwards and forwards before I get to my life destination, before I manage to be and manifest the beautiful person that Hashem dreamt of, when He dreamt of me before creating the world?
Joy and Tshuvah Without a doubt joy is a major factor, a major player in getting to our destination, successfully, as is
Tshuvah, real tshuvah is so so important. It is a divine gift, that Hashem gives us the possibility of doing tshuvah. It is absolutely the most important and most needed gift for achieving our destinies as individuals, and as a people.
It is so very important not to see ourselves as victims of circumstances. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks relates that when he met the Lubavitcher Rebbe the first time, the Rebbe asked him what he was planning to do on campus for the benefit of the Jewish student body. He began his answer with the words “if circumstances will allow …” but before he could continue, the Rebbe corrected him saying, “you create your circumstances.” We create our circumstances, good or ‘chas v’shalom’ the opposite, within those imposed upon us in life.
As long as we’re breathing, as long as we’re alive, Hashem is giving us the opportunity to begin the next step of our next journey; the opportunity to go deeper within, to discover our true essence. That’s what each journey is all about. We travel with learning Torah and doing mitzvot, and we try to do so no matter how difficult the circumstances. The context of each challenge, creates the opportunity for us to go deeper and higher, to do the mitzvot from within ever deeper depths. Each time we have a chance to do a mitzvah, is another opportunity for our souls to truly manifest.
So I need to do tshuvah to remove all the barriers that have piled up. Basically, I am responsible for all these, even though I can give many excuses that will explain how these barriers came to be. I can ‘excuse’ myself, so to speak, but ultimately it is my decision if I want to let these barriers stay where they are or if I want to try to get rid of them. Whichever way I decide is important, because it is really me who is responsible.
So it is me who really needs to learn to be in touch with my neshamah. It is me who needs to learn and know that no matter how far away my soul seems to be from its source and root, it is never disconnected from its root.
It is for me to say “Ribomo shel Olam, I admit that I have all these barriers, I admit that I am responsible for many of them because I myself brought them on. And I admit that I want to, at least want to want to get rid of them. I admit there are times when it seems like I don’t have any control over them, that I don’t have the strength to do the work. I also admit that You Hashem, do have the power and the compassion to keep me connected, to keep on giving me courage. I admit that I’m not always having an easy time saying sincerely, “Hashem, I am sorry, I regret.” I would like to, but I’m still, to a certain degree trapped in victim consciousness; a victim of jealousy, lust and pursuit of honor, the three biggest obstacles that prevent us from reaching our destiny and manifesting our purpose, our true selves in this world. [Rabbi Elazar Hakapor in Pirkei Avot 4:21]
So I turn to You, Ribono shel Olam, I want to turn to You and ask of You to compassionately open my heart and eyes, to see, to realize and know that I am still connected. To know that I can still serve You with joy, that I can still learn Torah and do a mitzvah with joy. To trust that all these heavy days will soon turn into holidays. I need Your compassion to help me gather my strengths and keep them focused to use my time well, to learn Torah b’simcha, because it’s Your Torah and You want me to learn it, because You gave it to me to learn, because that is how You have given Yourself to us.
I still want to do a mitzvah with joy. I want to be connected in a real way. I really don’t want these barriers and klipos to stop me from being a real Yid, from being a real good father, husband, a real good friend, a real good teacher. Therefore, I ask for Your רחמים מרובים –abundant compassion… This is my journey prayer, I want to be the real Shulim ben Sara Rivkah and Yosef Yekusiel Zusha. Amen
Rabbis teach that since the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because of ‘sinat chinam’, it will be rebuilt out of ‘ahavat chinam’ — baseless love.
May we all be blessed to truly renew and deepen our ‘achdut’, oneness and unification with each other and with Hashem, and may we merit to see the reestablishment and return of the Beit Hamikdash, [which is already complete, it only needs to be brought down from heaven to earth] quickly in our days, together with the speedy arrival of Mashiach Tzidkeinu. Amen, kein yehi ratzon.
Have a wonderful Shabbos!!, B’Ahavah U’Bivracha
Based on the writings of Reb Sholom Brodt z”l