Torah Portion

Parashat Bamidbar

Your Honor Is In Your Place

There was some character who entered his imagination when he was really small and he became that character, someone who he met once… It’s simple, he got confused!  He is not even that image!  He is something completely different!  He needs to return to his place, and not move from it… because every other will not be truly satisfying.  Every other place will be painful and disconnected.

home sweet home

Rav Yisrael Asulin

Translated by Moshe Neveloff

Monday, 22nd of Iyar, 5776

BS”D

For forty years the Jewish people walked in the desert.  Not just one family or one tribe, rather an entire people.  Not for a week, or a month, or a year; forty years.

Millions of people of different ages marching in arid conditions amidst wars; and it was all conducted with incredible order and exact planning.

Each tribe had its own flag in this enormous procession, each family had its exact place in this gigantic camp, and each person was required to ‘know his place’ very well: “Every man at his camp and every man at his banner, according to their legions.” (Numbers, 1:52)  Without going astray, without changing places and without getting out of line.  Each person- his honor was in his place.

To stand in place without moving

Seemingly it’s hard to understand.  What is so important if I stand north of the tabernacle or to the east of it?  What will happen if a man from the tribe of Reuven moves to the tribe of Dan?  What is the reason for the intensive occupation with place?

Rebbe Natan explains that we are not speaking about graphical numbers or demographic spreads.  It doesn’t end with the technical location of your encampments and journeys, it is a critical principle in the service of Hashem: “Each person needs to be careful to stand in his place and not to ruin the boundary and enter the boundary of his friend… therefore Moshe warned them: ‘every man at his camp and every man at his banner’… that through this each person merits to walk in the paths of teshuva[1], and through this he is made into the aspect of man” (Likutei Halachot, laws of blessings on fruits, 5th teaching, 20th paragraph)

And not just them, there in the desert, also today for us, here and now, without the tabernacle and flags and divisions into tribes, each Jew must know himself and his place specifically, for his good.  He shouldn’t try to enter a mold which is not appropriate for him and doesn’t belong to him.  He shouldn’t try to ‘change places’.  He shouldn’t raise the flag of somebody else.

When the flag is not yours, it’s not even at half mast

Seemingly, it sounds simple and understood.  It’s clear that I’m in my place and not in another mold.  It’s clear that I’m myself and not somebody else…

However you need to know that each one of us, whether consciously or unconsciously has a flag in his consciousness.  Each person has a silent picture, which was drawn already when he was a small child, sensory and colorful and detailed, about what he is supposed to be and how his life’s path is supposed to look.

It’s possible to meet with a person who complains to you about a crises.  It’s bitter for him, it’s bad for him.  He’s stuck.  He’s not satisfied with himself.  He’s not realizing his potential.  He’s full of feelings of guilt and regret.  He’s certain that he has no luck and he’s a schlimazel and unsuccessful.  He has so many expectations and requirements of himself which are unrealized.  He feels chained and imprisoned and lacking wings.  He feels that no one hears him, nobody sees him, and no one appreciates him.  He feels that he’s not in his place… and when you check with him the objective facts of his life and find that they are excellent, when on the surface everything seems great and promising and proves actual success, when there’s no concrete reason in the present for his difficult feelings, then you may begin to search after a bad and bitter and especially hidden past, which might be casting a shadow on his current life and not allowing him to be everything that he wants…

And with one small investigation, it’s possible to reveal that he’s just confused, and this image that he’s not able to be, is not even what he truly wants and needs to be.  Because by mistake he switched places and sat on a seat which is not his.

Who is your hero?

There was some character who entered his imagination when he was really small and he became that character; an internal hero in the image of some actor or singer or general or the king of the class went inside of him… someone who he met once in a movie or a bestselling book or a magical street advertisement conquered his imagination, and without paying attention, this character became his subconscious model.

He didn’t even know that he admires this character and wanted to be like him.  He didn’t know that he aspired to reach this character’s place, and that it’s not even his place.  He was convinced that these are his desires which are leading him.  Nevertheless he felt that he’s not in his place, that he’s not enough and that it’s not enough.

And what really happened?

This image stood between him and the mirror, conquering, dividing and hiding the view from him…

He just moved from his place.

Do you understand what happened?  It’s simple, he got confused!  He is not even that image!  He is something completely different!  He needs to return to his place, and not move from it… because every other will not be truly satisfying.  Every other place will be painful and disconnected.

Moshe Rabbeinu[2] and Rebbe Zusha- Parting from the Imaginary Model

Come and get to know yourself again, your true self, and from there connect.  Disconnect yourself from the social self, from the internal, admired, and legendary hero who clothed himself upon you and conquered your thoughts and feelings, and connect, finally, to your place, to your pure, basic and true self… and be what you truly want to be.  What you need to truly be.  What you are, without the imaginary character inside of you who caused you to raise a flag which is not yours.

To be someone else, not who you are supposed to be- you’ll never be able to be, and that’s a miracle.  Because what will you do in heaven with the character who dressed himself in your clothes?!  What will be with you?!

It’s told that Rebbe Zusha from Anipoli once said: “In heaven they won’t ask me why I wasn’t Moshe Rabbeinu; they’ll ask me why I wasn’t Zusha…”

So remain in your place, your true place.  The place which is just waiting for you to live, a true life without comparisons.

Be your “Zusha”, and not the Moshe Rabbeinu who you are not.

[1] Repentance

[2] Our teacher

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