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A Dvar Torah for Parshat Chayei Sarah

Our Dvar Torah: Humble Yourself Before the True Judge.
A Dvar Torah for Parshat Chayei Sarah: Genesis 23:1 - 25:18
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © November 13, 2020

READ Zohar Chayei Sarah 2 (page 7).

As Ozer Bergman notes:

There’s a lot of humility in this week’s parshah. Avraham Avinu (our Patriarch) twice humbles himself to the locals (Genesis 23: 7, 12); Eliezer bows to God at 24:26,52; Rivkah descends from her perch when meeting her groom at v. 64; and Sarah and Avraham are laid to rest at 23:19, 25:9.

Burial is the ultimate in being humbled. The holy Zohar (1:122b) warns that “One who downplays his importance in this world, will be heralded in the next. One who makes himself a big-shot in this world will be insignificant in the next.”

Before HaShem the greatest, the most powerful, the most learned are as nothing. The Beloved asks Job:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Speak if you have understanding.”

Job had no reply to make and neither do we. And David asks at Psalm 8:

“What is man that You should remember him, and the son of man that You should be mindful of him?”

And then notes:

“Yet You have made him slightly less than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and majesty. You give him dominion over the work of Your hands; You have placed everything beneath his feet.”

So which is it?

Yes, we have all this power and authority, but still, “What is man that You should remember him, and the son of man that You should be mindful of him?”

Of ourselves we have and are nothing! Before the Holy One we stand in utter silence!

The selection we read from Zohar Chayei Sarah 2 at the outset says: “And Dumah rises, and receives the reckoning.” What does this mean? Dumah is the silence of the grave, the reality to which we are all destined, unless HaMashiach comes soon as we pray! The only sane reaction to HaShem's Question to Job is found in the final verse of Psalm 8:

“O Adonai our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!”

We desperately need to humble ourselves before His greatness, before the FIRE of His excellence.

The more completely one kneels before Adonai in proper self evaluation the more Torah he can realize and actualize. As said at Avot 4:1.

Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from every man, as it is said: “From all who taught me have I gained understanding” (Psalms 119:99). Who is mighty? He who subdues his negative inclination, as it is said: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city” (Proverbs 16:3). Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot, as it is said: “You shall enjoy the fruit of your labors, you shall be happy and you shall prosper” (Psalms 128:2) “You shall be happy” in this world, “and you shall prosper” in the world to come. Who is he that is honored? He who honors his fellow human beings as it is said: “For I honor those that honor Me, but those who spurn Me shall be dishonored” (I Samuel 2:30).

A healthy ego is necessary. You have diverse gifts and qualities! There is no being in all of existence that is quite like you! YOU are here for a reason, YOU have a purpose! We are not worms nor doormats, we are the Children of the Most High! HOWEVER our ego must be constrained and held to its proper limits through true Self-Realization, and through consistently choosing the yetzer hatov over the yetzer hara. Such Da'at, such true understandings of ourselves with motivating faith or emunah, reveals our need of the Light and Fire of Torah knowledge and guidance. Such humble tzadikim become ever more illuminated by the Ohr Chadash, the Light of G-d, the Shechinah and the Ruach HaKodesh.

Through this Holy Light wayward Jewish souls are fanned into burning flames, the souls of unenlightened Gentiles become kindled Noahidim and the souls of converts are illuminated and take their rightful places among the Elect Priesthood of HaShem.

As our Beloved Rebbe Nachman of Breslov noted, his fire continues to burn bright and will burn until the coming of HaMashiach! Being kindled and fed through his Da'at may ours likewise burn bright!

Such humility and spiritual advancement brings God’s Glory to the fore, paving the way for HaMashiach and global Shalom, Peace. May we realize this FIRE in our lifetimes and soon and may we all say amen.

May HaShem in His great compassion, protect us all from haughtiness and arrogance. May He be with us and protect us as we enter into the Dark and Perilous months and years ahead whatever comes.

May He, in His Great Mercy, help each of us to realize and actualize the Divine Fire of genuine humility so that we will all humble ourselves before Him and be bright lights amidst the advancing darkness.

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