Parshat Lech Lecha
By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And They Took the Souls They “Made”
“Blessed are You Hashem Who wants repentance.”
Repentance is a Divine gift of kindness granted by Hashem. Therefore, praying for our own repentance and also for the repentance of our People at large and for the repentance of all mankind is a gesture of benevolence and compassion towards global wellbeing. One of the prototypes of this type of compassion and care for the bettering of mankind was Avraham our Father. After Avraham realized that Hashem is the one and only Master of the Universe, he did not suffice in keeping this realization to himself, but rather he sought people and elevated them to this realization and to the service of Hashem, along with his wife Sarah. Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu’s mark on the people that they elevated towards the service of Hashem was so great that the Torah calls these people to be “made” by Avraham and Sarah. Indeed, our Sages teach that the value of one’s Rabbi/spiritual mentor/master is considered even greater than a parent, “for parents bring their children to This World, while one’s Rabbi brings his student to the [more superior] World to Come.
Our Sages teach that “the actions of the forefathers are indicative signs to their offspring.” The Kabbalists describe the elevation of souls towards the service of God to the process of “elevating sparks from (the abyss of) evil.” Just as Avraham left the Diaspora and ascended to the Land of Israel with many “converts”/disciples, so too when Israel left Egypt in the Exodus to ascend to the Land of Israel they arose with souls and followers that represented their success in Egypt to elevate the spiritual sparks there. In a similar way, the return of our People to the Holy Land from across the globe in our era is similar to the gathering of the “scattered” sparks of holiness from across the globe towards the service of Hashem.
After ascending to the Land of Israel, Hebron became Avraham’s major spiritual center where he hosted guests and elevated these guests towards the service of the Almighty, as we see in the beginning of next week’s parsha. Indeed, this is Hebron, the City of Unity (haber means to unite), which is like a magnet drawing all the sparks of holiness of the universe to be gathered together towards the service of the Creator.
Rabbi Haim Begiau of Hebron was known as a Torah scholar who knew how to bring Jews closer to the service of Hashem. It is told that that Rabbi Begiau would talk with lads associated with the “Haskalah/Secular Movement”, and he would impress them with his phenomenal mind, being able to calculate a long list of numbers just upon hearing them. Rabbi Begiau also had a phenomenal memory, and he was able to recount all the happenings of the residents of Hebron, Jew and Arab alike, for a period of 80 years, with great precision. Rabbi Begiau was born in Hebron to well-established Hebron family, and he studied in the Torah institutions of Hebron, where he became well-versed in Talmud and the rulings of the poskim. He also served as an emissary for the Jewish community of Hebron in the Diaspora. Rabbi Begiau also played an important role in the midst of the Tarpat Massacre and its aftermath. He requested aid from the officials and rebuked the Arab leaders of Hebron for their atrocities. He cared for and helped the survivors for more than thirty years later, and he helped build a synagogue and a medical clinic for the refugees of Hebron, also taking an active role in the “Organization for the Community of Hebron.”
Real Stories from the Holy Land #285
“I once recommended to a Jew that I have been bringing closer to Torah faith and observance (“kiruv”) to take on the mitzvah of Kiddush on wine on Shabbat. One day, my wife asked me to drive specially to return wine I had bought for Kiddush for a different wine at a specific grocery store. I turns out that when arriving at this store to exchange the wine I happened to meet this Jew who had become interested in taking on the recitation of Kiddush over wine on Shabbat, and had just began to work at that grocery store.” A.Y
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