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A Timely Torah Message By Shaya Gross

  Parshas Lech Lecha 5782

Lost in Life?

[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.] 

Imagine that you are hiking through difficult terrain and it is dark and slippery. Your guide, whom you have faithfully been following until now, suddenly says to you ‘go on ahead, veer to the left, and find your way.’ It probably wouldn’t be that easy to listen to him.

We can now appreciate what the Pasuk tells us concerning Avraham.

It states that G-d said to Avraham, ‘walk in front of me and be tamim [complete].’

Concerning Noach it says that Noach walked after G-d; meaning G-d led the way and Noach followed. Avraham was on a higher level, and hence, he was asked to walk in front of G-d; which means to do what he thinks G-d wants even when it is unclear. This is the simple understanding of ‘walk in front of me.’

What do the next words, ‘and be tamim’ mean?

Completeness, faithfulness, wholesomeness, and simplicity are all adjectives that define the word tamim. A Tam is someone who doesn’t ask questions. A Tam is somebody with no self-interest. A Tam is somebody who just does what is supposed to be done.

Sometimes knowing what the right approach in life is can be confusing. A Tam is someone who will ask his mentor what the right thing to do is and then will do it even if it doesn’t make sense to him.

With this, we can appreciate the statement of the Zohar ‘one who is not a tam in this world walks in front of Hashem in the next world and doesn’t get to look at Hashem [kivayachol], whereas a tam in the next world walks behind Hashem in the next world and gets to look at Hashem.’ I believe it is mida k’neged mida. If we walk in front of Hashem in THIS world, we will have the pleasure and merit of walking behind Hashem and be able to see Hashem in the next world. Whereas if we are not strong enough to walk in front of Hashem in this world, we will have to walk in front of Him in the next world and won’t be able to look at Hashem and derive immense pleasure from His radiance.

May we all try to follow in the ways of Avraham Avinu and seek guidance on whatever issues we are confused about and then just listen to our Rebbi or mentor even when it seems confusing. We will then, in our own small way, be ‘walking in front of Hashem and being Tamim.’

{Editor’s note: In this week’s Parsha, Avraham received a bracha for great wealth for listening to Hashem to travel away from his family. Rashi explains this is because when a person travels, one’s wealth decreases. So Hashem gave him a bracha that he should still have wealth.
I saw a beautiful insight from Rabbi Reisman. He quotes Rav Pam who says that you see from this test that moving isn’t simple. To move from one place to another, one can lose out on many things. Staying in one place can create a tremendous salvation.
Rav Pam would often say you’re looking for the city of happiness? The city of happiness is in the state of mind. Wherever you are, be content. Be happy with what you have. Your eyes should not be looking all over the place. That is a lesson from the first test that Avraham Avinu had to move from where he was. Moving is not simple.
Let us try to be content with ourselves with what we have, and not constantly look over our shoulder to see what our neighbor has. That will hopefully help us live happier, healthier lives where we can devote ourselves to becoming greater people.
Have a happy and restful Shabbos!}

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