Vayeira: How to Find Inner Sight
What can we do to easily create intentional motivation in our lives?
I often find that when I have trouble beginning an important and challenging task, the simple transition of taking a deep breath helps make the whole process much easier. I take a moment to settle my mind and create a moment of inner awareness. I remind myself of the task at hand and I feel the strength in my body and the strength of what I’m capable of.
In the beginning of Vayeira, Avraham greets three guests who come to visit him. Let us not forget Avraham’s state of being. He has just received a milah and is healing from the procedure. As we know, despite the challenging state he is in, he is able to get up and run to greet guests whom he welcomes into his home. How does he do it?
In the second verse of the parsha it states
“וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים נִצָּבִים עָלָיו וַיַּרְא וַיָּרץ לִקְרָאתָם מִפֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל”
“Avraham lifted his eyes and he saw. And behold, three people were walking towards him. And he saw and he ran towards them to greet them outside his tent”(Gen. 18:2).
One of the early Hasidic thinkers, the Noam Elimelech, sees this pasuk and reminds us of the following question. Why does the verse need to say that Avraham saw twice? Is this not redundant? Creatively, the Noam Elimelech suggests the following read. He suggests that the first time it says that Avraham saw, he looked inward to strengthen himself, to remind himself of that ultimate purpose in his life which is to serve HaShem. By looking inward, Avraham recognized his duty. And then, looking outward, Avraham knew exactly what to do. To run towards the guests and greet them He went out to serve God in the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, of greeting guests in his home.
Avraham took a moment before facing that challenging opportunity to do a mitzvah and he took that breath. He made a moment for awareness, to be in his body for a moment and remind himself of his purpose. Once he knew that in his heart, he could easily find strength to do what needed to be done.
For this Shabbos, this week, may we all find those little sacred moments of awareness; of inner sight that brings us true insight.
This essay is part of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah’s weekly parsha wisdom. Each week, graduates of YCT share their thoughts on the parsha, refracted through the lens of their rabbinates and the people they are serving, with all of us.