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Movers and Shakers!

By Rabbi Jonathan Tawil

A great man once said, “If you are going through hell – keep going!”

We were created to be movers; we are blessed with wonderful feet that never seem to be still. We are movers; we are shakers and we push ahead.

In G-d’s first official appearance to Avraham, He relates to him that he must go – Lech Lecha – literally, go to yourself.

The Sages query the need to say go to yourself. How can a person go to themselves?

The Baal Haturim states the hidden gems behind these words. He notes that the numerical value of theyse words is 100. Avraham was old and without children. He was desperate to continue his legacy. In the words Lech Lecha (=100) Hashem was hinting to Avraham that if he listened to His command, leaving his birthplace, then he would be blessed with a child that would be born to him at the age of 100. Furthermore, he was hinting to him that he would live for a further 100 years!

Sometimes we find ourselves stuck. We are used to our routine, but Hashem grants us times in the year to help us re-energise and move on. The higher we move, the more blessing we open ourselves up to.

It was just over a year ago on this week’s Parasha that we learnt of the sad passing of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Zts’l.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was a spiritual giant and leader of the Jewish people. He earned the respect of hundreds of thousands, and his Levaya was attended by close to a million people in Jerusalem – probably the highest amount of people ever to attend a Levaya in Jerusalem’s history.

Rabbi ChatzkelLevensteinZts’l once said that there is a lesson to be learned from the first three Parashiot of the Torah. Not only is the world, and subsequently, the Jewish people built in these Parashiot, but the world’s survival was also fabricated by only three people: Adam, Noach, and Avraham. We are around because of these individuals.

We see from here the power that each individual has within themselves to create whole worlds and to leave an everlasting mark on this one.

Interestingly, Rabbi Shimshon PincusZts’l gives a deeper aspect to Hashem’s command.

He explains that if a person does an act of Chesed (kindness), e.g. by giving £100 to a poor person, there are two aspects to his act.

First, there is the effect he had on the world: he helped a pauper obtain food with which to sustain his life. Second, there is the effect he had on himself: he built his personality and made himself into a Ba’alChesed. Now he is a man of kindness.

R Shimshon asks which aspect is more important – that which he contributed to the world at large or that which he contributed to his own personality?

He explains using our verse, ‘Go for yourself’. Hashem is telling us that what a person does for himself to build his own personality is the more important aspect.

The Rabbis say, ‘Who is a Chasid? He who does Chesed with his Maker’.

In other words, they are asking how to do true Chesed. The answer is: by doing Chesed with Hashem. This is Chesed at its best.

There is one thing that Hashem does not have, so to speak, and only man can give it to Him. It is when man perfects his own personality. When a person corrects and perfects his own self, making himself into a better person, this is something that Hashem cannot do on His own, so to speak.

If Hashem would try to make someone into a good person, the result would not be a good person. Perhaps it would be a good robot, or a good angel, but not a good person. Making a good person is the only thing that Hashem doesn’t have, and only we can give it to Him.

When we give money to a hungry pauper, we believe that Hashem has decreed for this pauper to receive money. We are just the emissary. If we do not give him money, someone else will. Therefore, whatever we give the pauper is something he would have received anyway. This is not Chesed at its best.

True Chesed is only the Chesed we do for Hashem by making ourselves into better human beings.

With the command, ‘Go for yourself’, Avraham was commanded to give Hashem something that Hashem cannot create on His own, so to speak. And THIS is the most precious thing to Him. This is the greatest kind of Chesed.

Avraham eventually excelled in himself to become our forefather and one of the most potent people in the history of the world.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Zts’l from a young age delved into the depths of Torah serving G-d and His people throughout all his life. He was a man that went for himself and thus spilled over his greatness and knowledge to us and generations to come.

We all have the ability to go to ourselves – it only takes a few steps forwards.

Don’t watch the clock; do what it does! Keep going!

Go – Move – Achieve- and let Hashem and humanity benefit from your life.

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