LEAVING TO ARRIVE
HARAV Y. REUVEN RUBIN SHLITA
I write these lines awaiting a five thirty appointment for my third jab. We are living in very strange times, the pandemic shook us all up, and now as we are getting back to what passes for the everyday, we still are wary of what could come next. Getting this appointment came with its own brand of Covid mental elasticity. We are Boruch Hashem, making chasunah for an Einikle in three weeks, which will be preceded by one day with the Bar Mitzvah of another grandson. Every “Alter Zieda” lives for such snapshots of simcha, and I am trying my best to stay out of harm’s way. So after discussion with medical experts, I was aiming to get the jab out of the way soon so any side effects will, Bezras Hashem, pass before our combined simchos. Unfortunately, the nearby NHS facilities were booked up and I was almost resigned to having to push the shot off till later. Then, as always, Hatzola came to the rescue. Late last night I got a message that the Hatzola Vaccination Hub may well have some openings, this resulted in the appointment I am about to attend. Over the Yom Tovim I have had many a discussion with Hiemisha Yieden. Many words flowed about how things have changed over these last months and how we had to change patterns of life so as to accommodate these new realities. Wistfully many were hoping things would soon be back to ‘normalcy’, the question we each must ask ourselves is, “has all this been about going back to Normalcy?”
In parsha Lech Lecha we find The Eibishter appearing before Avrohom Avinu and telling him for the very first time to undertake a particular task: “Go away from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house.”
Many have asked why Hashem chose just this challenge as the first direct law Avrohom was being given. Wouldn’t it be more dramatic to choose as the first undertaking one of the 613 mitzvahs from the Torah?
Rebbe Liebela Eiger of Lublin Zt”l offers an answer. He explains that the Eibishter first wanted to show Avrohom that the foundation and key to fulfilling the Will of Hashem is firstly through Kabolus Ohl Malchus Shomayim, a total acceptance of Hashem’s Kingship over the world. Before specific Mitzvos can be truly fulfilled we must acknowledge that everything is from Hashem and to know that no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves facing, it is all the Rotzon of The Eibishter. Things may not always seem comfortable, nor even understandable, but that must never dismay the servant of Hashem. This was the preamble of the life of our father Avrohom. He had to first leave his “comfort zone” his familiar homeland, everything he grew up with, and create a new reality wherein whatever life served up he accepted with a greater connection to Kieveuchal Hashem. This was then the primer that Hashem gave Avrohom! Leave, go to wherever Hashem will lead you, knowing in your heart that no matter where the path will wend its way, it is good, for it is where Hashem wants you to be.
The Sfas Emes Zt”l goes further, The Rebbe declares that in truth the heavens cry out to each and every Yied, “Lech Lecha” go away from your snug complacency, that cold cocoon of laziness which numbs you from the vibrancy of fulfilling the Rotzon Haborah with verve and simcha.
We each have the essence of Avrohom within the DNA of our neshomahs. We too are called upon to leave the common notions of the material world and accept that everything is from the Eibishter. This was the first utterance to Avrohom, and should be each of our own cornerstone for life.
The clock is running and so must I, there’s a needle with my name on it. I get to the vaccination centre to find a small queue already there. I am welcomed with a few kind words from some of my fellow attendees. One Yied tells me he enjoys reading my weekly missives. This is especially heartwarming. Writing is a lonely craft, you never know if there is anyone out there even reading beyond the Title, so hearing someone thank you for your efforts is a chizuk. I answer that I am in the middle of writing about this very days Jab, and with a smile whisper, ‘so you fellows better behave’. The line moves forward, Hiemisha yieden in high vis waistcoats ask all the questions, and record all the answers. Finally, I am ushered into a cubicle where a bemasked Chasidisha Yied welcomes me with a warm Sholom and a request that I sit down and roll up my sleeve. The moment has arrived, the needle glistens and before I can say ‘Shlach Refuah Shlemah’ the life protecting job is done. During this past Chal Hamoed I spoke at a Simchas Bais Hasoheiva that was given for all the Hatzalah volunteers, as I sat in my cubicle one of the Hatzalah chevra poked his head in to say thank you for my address. As I rubbed my arm I thanked him, and all his partners in doing so much for Klall Yisroel. Walking out into the drizzle of Manchester I thought to myself, ‘We have all been called upon to follow the directive that Hashem gave to Avrohom at the very beginnings of our people, lech lecha, go away, leave your notion of a ‘normal’ life and remind yourself that Hashem is running this world. We have truly been through a lot this past year, and the repercussions are still being felt. The world has shuddered in anxiety yet the Yied knows where his truth lies. Hashem is leading us to where our Tikun awaits, so my arm may ache a bit, but I went home with a greater understanding of why. May we all have a g ‘Gutter Vinter’ with gezunta simchas and Kol Tov Sela.