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THE LEAST COMFORTABLE PATH

Roy Neuberger - Nov. 02, 2018


Recently, my wife and I visited Ma’aras Hamachpaila, the Cave of Machpaila in Chevron, the burial place of our Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and our Mothers Sarah, Rebeccah and Leah as well as Adam and Eve. Standing before the ancient stone building, we felt the kedusha wash over us.

 

“The Patriarch Avraham entered [Ma’ares Hamachpaila]. He smelled the fragrance of the Garden of Eden. He heard the angels saying, ‘Adam is buried there; Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov are destined for this place.’” (Zohar Chadash, Rus 79b, cited in the Encyclopedia of Biblical Personalities)

 

“How did Abraham discover Ma’aras Hamachpaila? He was running after a calf, as it is written, ‘Then Abraham ran to the herd.’ (Genesis 18:7) The calf fled into the cave. Abraham followed it …. Sublime fragrances [wafted] … from that cave.” (Zohar 1:127a; ibid)

 

Travel to Chevron is difficult. One must pass through hostile neighborhoods. Savage faces stare at you. Yet this road leads to the Garden of Eden!

 

“Hashem banished [Adam] from Gan Eden (the Garden) … and, having driven out the man, He stationed at the east of the Garden of Eden the Cruvim and the flame of the ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the Tree of Life.” (Genesis 3:23)

 

The road back to the Garden of Eden, but we have to know there is a road, and we have to know the road can be traveled, and we have to know that we can travel that road!

 

“There are many times when one finds himself at a crossroad … when he isn’t sure what would be the will of Hashem Yisborach. [In such a situation], we should learn from Avraham Avinu and choose the path that is least comfortable for us! This way he can be optimistic and certain that he has no … ulterior motives … pushing him to do this. He can rest assured there will be no claim on him why he acted in this way.

 

“A person must examine himself … to ascertain how he is performing his mitzvos. Is it in order just to ‘get it over with,’ or is it in order to give nachas ruach to his Creator by doing His will? How can this be discerned? When there are obstacles. Does he take … the obstacles [as a rationale] to desist from doing the mitzvah or does he still push onward to perform Hashem’s [will] regardless of what will happen?

 

“Throughout all the generations, especially since our holy Temple was destroyed, the Children of Israel have experienced grueling situations and predicaments …. What gave them the strength to go on? Their clear Emunah (faith and trust in Hashem). The darkness of Exile requires us to strengthen our faith, as the Torah says, ‘And to have faith in You at night-time….’ (Psalm 92:3) Avraham Avinu remained totally steadfast in his emunah … even when offering as a korban his very own … son, who was to be the father of all his descendants!” (Rabbi Shlomo Bussu Shlita”h)

 

The Evil Inclination tells us we cannot do it. The stronger the voice of the Evil Inclination, the more mightily we have to battle. This is the sign from Hashem that we are nearing our goal!

 

“Blessed are You … G-d of Avraham, G-d of Yitzchak, G-d of Yaakov … Who recalls the kindnesses of the Avos and brings a Redeemer to their children’s children, for His Name’s sake, with love!” (Shemoneh Esreh) May we see it soon in our days!

 

PICTURE CAPTION

 

The Cave of Machpaila in Chevron,

where our forefathers and mothers are buried.


 

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