Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

Rabbi Wein’s Weekly Blog
 Printer Friendly


The patternf or the life of our father Abraham and our mother Sarah is set in the opening word's of  this week's Torah reading. They, the progenitors of the Jewish people and the parents of all nations are destined to be travelers for all of their lives. The truth is that all of us are travelers on the journey of our lives. The difference is whether we have a clear idea of our destination and even more importantly what path to take in order to arrive there.

God assures Abraham and Sarah that Heaven will accompany them on their journey. But the Lord does not forecast the events, the twists and turns, the detours and stumbling blocks that will mark the path of their journey. How to cope with those unforeseen and mostly untoward events is left up to the wisdom, tactics and actions of Abraham and Sarah themselves.
At the same time they are to remember that the focus of their lives is the goal of their relationship with their Creator and the task of creating a family and a nation that will guide civilization towards that same goal. The Torah itself states that Abraham ‘saw the place from afar.’
‘The place’ refers to that goal of the relationship to God and the acquisition of the holy spirit which allows one to lead a meaningful and productive life. But the goal is always seen ‘from afar.’ Nevertheless, the pursuit of the goal is mandatory upon Abraham, Sarah and their descendants even if in many instances the goal is deemed to be unachievable.
The Jewish people have wandered over the face of this globe for millennia. They always knew that they would return to the Land of Israel one day no matter how distant or unachievable that that day may have appeared. The example of Abraham and Sarah has always stood before the eyes of the Jewish people as the paradigm of their national experience.
It is reported that Rabbi Nachman of Breslov constantly stated: “Every step that I take on the face of this earth is towards Jerusalem.” God did not choose to inform Abraham as to how he would reach his life's destination. Human beings have elaborate plans, Google maps, detailed itineraries and many ideas as how to arrive at their sought after destinations. Sometimes all of these plans do work out on schedule and successfully. But many times Heaven mocks our futile efforts at controlling our destiny.
We state in our daily prayers that “many are the thoughts and plans that lie in the hearts of humans, but only the wisdom and advice of God will prevail.” The greatness of character of our father and mother, Abraham and Sarah, is reflected in how they dealt with the vagaries of life, the disappointments and certainly the tragedies, while not losing sight of the goal and ultimate purpose of life itself.
The importance of keeping Abraham and Sarah constantly in the forefront of our minds and plans is of inestimable value in negotiating one's journey through life.
Shabbat shalom
Rabbi Berel Wein

Subscribe to our blog via email or RSS to get more posts like this one.