Avrohom Ovinu’s eternal light | By Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita

Avrohom Ovinu’s eternal light

By Harav Y. Reuven Rubin Shlita

The parshiyos in Bereishis speak of the middos of our forebears; we are meant to emulate these in our real lives, not leave them buried in academic study. Sometimes a small vort of a few words can open up your heart to a whole sea of understanding. One such vertel caught my eye over the last week.

Vayomer Hashem el Avrom, Lech Lecha…..Hashem told Avrom: take yourself….”  These very first words in Parshas Lech Lecha are spoken about by many great commentators. They describe one of the primary tests that Hashem placed before our ancestor, and much is written about Hashem’s intent towards His favourite disciple at that critical juncture.

The Tzaddik Rav Berish Biala ztl examines the brevity of the passage and suggests powerfully the following: Hashem is telling Avrom to go within himself, into his essence…. and from there he will be able to move further.

These few words are veritable gems, revealing a truth that in our current state we often forget. Look into yourself, penetrate all the layers of emptiness and illusion. Find yourself, and with this you can move in a positive fashion. Having a true self-awareness, that as a Yied you carry a blessed neshoma, is a gift, one that we must constantly be aware of. We have been bestowed the spark that was Avrohom Ovinu, one that lives on and is acted upon whenever we do acts of chessed. That ultimate goal was his imprint on the world.

Over eight years ago I shared a Torah explanation that I heard from my dear teacher Rav Moshe Kupetz who is now in need of our tefillos and is a true example of chessed. Allow me to retell it here and may it be a zechus for Rav Sholom Moshe Ben Baila for a refua shleimah.

It was during one of our regular learning sessions in his home. Reb Moshe was decidedly excited about something he had just learned. He showed me an amazing comment from the Toras Chayim. On the passage “And Hashem blessed Avrohom with all” the sefer quotes the Gemoro in Bava Basra that tells us that Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai taught that “A precious stone hung from the neck of Avrohom Ovinu. Any sick person that looked at it was cured. When Avrohom passed from the world, Hashem hung this stone in the orb of the sun.”  The sefer then tells an amazing story.

In the days when the Beis Halevi lived with his father in law, Rebbe Yitzchok Epron, his young child Chaimel (later to grow up to become known as Rebbe Chaim of Brisk) became extremely sick with a life-threatening illness.

Just at that time Rebbe Yitzchok’s rebbe Rav Moshe MeKabrin came to Volozhin for a visit. It was his custom to stay at the home of his devoted chossid Rebbe Yitzchok and when he was told that the family was experiencing a difficult time owing to the young child’s critical sickness, the Rebbe insisted that Reb Yitzchok carry on as normal and even host a festive meal.

During the meal the Rebbe started to talk about this Gemoro and how Avrohom had this stone that would cure all who looked upon it. “And what was this precious stone? It was the middah of hospitality and chessed that was so magnanimously practiced by Avrohom Ovinu.

“Every time we do a chessed, that sun of illumination that was Avrohom Ovinu shines on us and cures our ills”

And when Avrohom Ovinu passed on Hashem placed this middah of chessed in the sun where it can shine upon the entire world.

The Rebbe then smiled, “Reb Itcha has given hospitality today beyond the call of duty and in that merit his grandson Chaimel will have a complete recovery. And so it was……

Years later The Gaon Rebbe Menachem Nachum Rabinowitz came to Rebbe Chaim for semicha. In the course of their conversation Rebbe Chaim asked the younger man if he had received any other semichas yet.

Rebbe Menachem Nachum showed the Rav a semicha that had been awarded him. After reading it Rebbe Chaim murmured that it seemed a bit cold in its wording.

Rebbe Menachem Nachum said, “It’s not a wonder that the wording seemed cold; after all the Rov who wrote it is a misnaged and I am a chossid.”

Rebbe Chaim asked, “and what am I then?” Rebbe Menachem Nachum replied, “You are at least half a chossid.” Rebbe Chaim understood at once that his guest knew about his grandfather’s chasiddishe background and asked if he knew of the story of his childhood illness.

Rebbe Menachem Nachum repeated the story just as Rebbe Chaim had heard it many times as he grew up.

However, he added one point. During the festive meal the Rebbe of Kabrin went into the room where the child lay and said,

“In Parshas Vayera when the malochim came to Avrohom Ovinu, he prepared food for them. It says in the passage that he stood with them. The use of this word is in the present, not the past tense. The Rebbe said that every time a Jew does a charitable act, Avrohom Ovinu stands with him. That is why the term is in the present tense. Every time we do a chessed, that sun of illumination that was Avrohom Ovinu shines on us and cures our ills.”

I was left speechless; the story tells it all. May we all look into ourselves and find the real spark that is Avrohom Ovinu, and may this bring us to do untold chessed in a world darkened by selfish obsession. And may my dearest friend Reb Moshe come home soon, and teach his Torah of living chessed for many years to come.

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