Tuesday, November 18, 2008

LECH LECHA: COSMIC BLESSINGS LARGE AND LARGER

by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

An ETERNAL cosmic blessing is bestowed upon Avraham by G*d:

"I will bless those that bless you, and he that curses you I shall curse. All the families of the earth shall be blessed through you (Gen 12:3)."

This is a blessing and a prophecy as well. Through the hindsight of history we see the efficacy of these words. But this is on the level of macro blessing. This is the stuff of nations. What can we learn about bringing blessings into our own lives?

One hint is in the seemingly extra letter yud in "mevarchecha," as in (I will bless) "those that bless you."The letter yud alludes to Hashem, being the lead letter in the tetragrammaton, the ineffable name, the "shem havaya." The "yud" of Hashem brings us blessing. This means that when we place G*d's desires above our own desires, we open ourselves up as a conduit to receive Hashem's blessings in our lives.That is the first half of the answer.

When we embark on a journey, especially without a known destination in mind,we need all the blessings we can get. When Hashem asks us to go on a journey to the unknown, then every step we take is an act of faith, even more than when we know from the outset where we will be going.

When one lives alone with few distractions one may hear the still small voice more readily. And then to act on it is easier than when a spouse is involved. G*d spoke to Avraham and asked him to get out of town (lech lecha...).

Fine,but what about his wife, Sarah? The answer is in the words (lech lecha) themselves. The numerical value of"lech" is 50, and the value of "lecha" is also 50. While the traditional explanation is that he "took her" on the journey (vayikach) WITH WORDS, it is crucial to understand that unless Sarah was 100% on board with this mission to spread "the word," this ethical monotheism thing was going nowhere.

This was a 50-50 proposition. They were going to spread the message as equals. The letters in the words Lech Lecha are "50 - 50" in numerology. His agreeing to go with his holy wife was a 50/50 proposition. A complete agreement on her part was necessary. Yes. G*d reveals His truth in math and science.

She would teach the women; he would teach the men. It is crucial to understand that Avraham could not just make a token gesture to get her to agree. Rachmana liba ba'ee. G*d wants the heart. Her heart must be in it completely.

Marriage must entail a complete sharing. Even going beyond sharing, i.e., putting our spouse first. In Gen 12:8 it says " ...vayeyt ohalo...and he (Avraham) set up his tent." But the last letter of ohalo is the letter hey, although it is read as if written with a vav (the vowel cholom). Since our Torah is a Divine document, we must ask why this is so. What message is G*d giving us through His holy book?

The midrash in Breishit Rabbah explains that wherever Avraham went, he set up Sarah's tent first. In fact, he put all her needs above his own. So here is the second half. We must learn from Avraham that to be blessed in marriage (read successful), one must put one's spouse's needs above one's own. So when we put these two encoded ideas together: how to relate to G*d (our Heavenly partner) and how to relate to our spouse (our heavenly partner), we have the complete formula.

And to recap, on the yud level, it is to place Hashem's desires BEFORE our own desires, no matter how hard it seems. And sometimes it is hard. And on the hay level, we are to place our spouse's needs BEFORE our own needs, no matter how hard it seems. And sometimes it is hard. And if we put the letters yud and hay together, it spells G*d's name. We will then be walking on our journey through life with G*d. And that is the greatest of all blessings.

Shabbat Shalom! Good Shabbos!

© 1999-2008 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen ben Meir Yisrael Hakohen Melman, z"l

I was raised in the musar tradition of silence and meditative thoughtfulness, as were my father and grandfather before me. I was born on the first day chol hamoed Sukkos, which is also the yahrzeit of both Rebbe Nachman and the Vilna Gaon.

http://seferchabibi.blogspot.com/2007/07/yahrzeit-of-my-father-27-tammuz.html
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506EEDC1630F93BA35754C0A9649C8B63

Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)Dedications are available.

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About Me

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I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!