Torah Portion

Parashat Vayeira

I’m Tired of Waiting

We speak a lot about personal development; about working on boundaries, about building a connection- with Hashem, with the Tsaddik, with myself and with my spouse, and about the journey to the complete and true good.  We want to get there.  That is the goal of each and every one of us from the place he finds himself and which he is dealing with, to go towards the good and the holiness.

waiting

Harav Israel Asulin

Tuesday, 14th of MarCheshvan, 5776

BS”D

We speak a lot about personal development; about working on boundaries, about building a connection- with Hashem, with the Tsaddik, with myself and with my spouse, and about the journey to the complete and true good.  We want to get there.  That is the goal of each and every one of us from the place he finds himself and which he is dealing with, to go towards the good and the holiness.

Then you come, with all of the willpower and faith, and begin working.  You receive upon yourself a set amount of time of personal prayer and make clear boundaries with food and weaning yourself from addictions, and you connect to the Tsaddik and to a friend… and you expect that things will open for you, that you’ll feel something, that you’ll become a tsaddik, that you’ll lose weight, that the gates of the Garden of Eden will open for you…something.  You give so much in order to find Hashem, what, they won’t give you something in return?

Sometimes we do everything and feel they are leaving us behind the door and not allowing us to enter.  As much as we knock and request politely and with tears and with pleas and desire, the feeling is that everything remains locked with a stubborn and clear sign of “no entry”.  This causes despair.

How much can you continue with personal prayer, for example, to dedicate a significant amount of time from your busy schedule to speak with Hashem, and to find yourself, again and again, feeling dry, empty and distant, as if Hashem cannot be found?  How much can you try your hardest to learn the holy Torah and feel that your brain remains dense and blocked?  How much can you dedicate yourself to stay within the boundaries of healthy eating and see the same annoying digital numbers on the scale, as if you didn’t do anything?  Or invest yourself in coming closer to your spouse, just to run into the same walls…?  How much?

It’s difficult, and therefor people give up and retreat.

However, there is a very simple foundational point, that if we would remember it, it would be much easier for us in this battle.  This fundamental point says that that’s the way it is.  It is impossible to enter into holiness in one instant.  It takes time.  “It is necessary for a person to wait until he merits a full rectification.  It is impossible to enter into the holiness in one moment.” (Abridged Likutei Moharan[1], Torah 6, 4th paragraph)

It’s not that you were supposed to reach the goal and you didn’t get there; that is simply how it works, that it takes time to get there.

When you find yourself behind a closed door and it seems to you that you’ll never reach the expected good and that everything you waited for is in vain, God forbid; what is required of you now is simply to wait- don’t give up.  Don’t let go of the will.  Don’t give in to the temptations which overtake you specifically now with more intensity and attack you from all directions: maybe we’ll look for happiness in a different place and not in the world of holiness?  Maybe we’ll make do with an imaginary good?  Maybe we’ll ease ourselves into the warmth of unnecessary materialism?  Maybe we’ll go back to sleeping an eternal sleep of nothingness?

Don’t concede.  Remain in your place and wait until the door opens for you, and it will open.

In this week’s Torah portion we see how much Avraham waited until Hashem revealed himself to him.  Rebbe Natan writes in Likutei Halachot[2] (Laws of Marriage 4, 19th paragraph): “’While he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day’ (Bereshit, Chapter 18, Verse 1) – the word sitting here is the language of being delayed for a long time, that is to say that he merited God’s revelation by sitting many days by the entrance of the tent, which is the entrance to holiness.”

Avraham our forefather did not despair.  He sat at the entrance to the tent, the entrance to the holiness, expecting for such a long time and nothing happened; not only was he not allowed to enter, even more than that, Hashem removed the sun from its covering, “in the heat of the day” is the aspect of the heating up of the evil inclination, which increases mainly when someone is close to the entrance to holiness.

Despite the time which went by and despite the heat, Avraham our forefather did not give up.  He understood that there is no reason to search for happiness in any other place.  Except for what we have done to come closer to Hashem- nothing will remain.

Just as Rebbe Natan says so beautifully in Likutei Halachot (ibid): “Someone who does not want to fool himself and thinks about his ultimate purpose truthfully, he doesn’t retreat in any way in the world however things might be, he just sits and waits and stays by the entrance many days however long it takes; and even though they don’t allow him to enter into the opening and the heat of the day really burns him, nevertheless he doesn’t let go and he sits and remains by the entrance of the tent of the Tsaddikim, until God will have mercy on him from Heaven.”

It’s important that we know that the time of waiting is not a time that goes by for no reason, as it seems to us.  This time is exactly the time needed in order to build the proper vessels to hold the abundance which is waiting for us.  During this time we build submission and faith.  During this time we clarify our will, free ourselves from holding onto control and receive upon ourselves the yoke of Heaven.

The very fact that we agree to wait changes us.  We give over the leadership to the hands of Heaven, and clean ourselves of arrogance and control.

Just like the expectation for a seed to sprout or for a fruit to become ripe, a person needs to change the impatience to contemplation, agreeing to allow the process of growth and formation to take place.

When we contemplate we merit to see how many salvations we have already received, and how many expansions Hashem, who is good, has already expanded for us.  Through this we receive the strength to continue and wait, until Hashem will gaze down and see from Heaven.

Rebbe Natan writes to his son: “You see with your eyes the truth of the words we have spoken a lot in these times how we just need to wait for Hashem’s salvation.  We see God’s salvation every day and all the time.  Also regarding the building of the synagogue (he is referring to when they built the synagogue in Uman) I see Hashem’s salvation every day, however nevertheless we need to always wait with everything in general and in specific matters, and the main thing is to know that the main salvation is to merit to truly come close to the service of Hashem.  I myself in my modesty have waited a great amount, and our eyes are longing all day to His true salvations.  I have already seen Hashem’s salvation many times, however nevertheless in the matters where I still have not been rescued I’m still waiting, until Hashem will gaze down and see from Heaven.” (The letters of Rebbe Natan, letter 23)

Every moment that we sit, like Avraham our forefather, by the entrance, waiting with acceptance, we are changed.

Every moment that we continue to hope, we don’t despair and we don’t concede, we are purified and we make progress.

In the end Hashem always saves us!

[1] The main collection of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings

[2] Rebbe Natan’s explanation of the Code of Jewish law, based upon the teachings of Rebbe Nachman

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