Vayera – Torah prep

With Abraham, the protagonist of this week’s Torah portion (Vayera), we see the beginning of a new epoch – preparation for the giving of the Torah.  The first generations, typified by the first parsha, Bereishit, received Godly influx and kindness from above, as we see that the creation was an act from above.  The next generations, though angered God and it was necessary to “clean up their act,” so during parshat Noach, God brought the flood to the world, destroying it and starting over again. This was an act that took place from below to Above, as it was necessary for the creation to become purified. And finally, beginning with last week’s portion (Lech Lecha) and continuing on to next weeks’s portion (Chayei Sara), we see that Abraham performs both dynamics, both preparing his generation to receive Godly revelation from below and also praying to God for that revelation from Above.  This was the beginning of preparation for the giving of the Torah, which connects the upper and lower realms of creation.

There is a progression, also, in the nature of the leaders of the generations during this early history of the creation.  Noach, for example, did not pray for his generation.  True, he rebuked them, and if they asked him what he was doing as he built the ark, he would tell him that because of their bad behavior, they would be erased from the world unless they repented.  However, that was only a reaction to their questions – he did not actively seek out his generation in order to influence them.

Abraham, though, sought to pro-actively influence his generation.  He preached to them about the oneness of God and sought to bring them “into the fold.”  However, Abraham’s actions were selective.  When he beseeched God, for example, to save the cities of Sodom and Gomorra from destruction, he did not do so on behalf of all of their residents.  He only prayed for the righteous members of the community, who were a small minority.  He did not concern himself with the vast majority who were wicked.  He considered them to be a “lost cause.”  That was a “symptom of the age.”  Since it was only preparation for the giving of the Torah at this time, and not the actual giving, so the upper spiritual and lower physical realms were not connected.  Therefore, Abraham could only pray for and work with those who were already a “keli” – a vessel for Godliness.  But, he could not do anything for those who had no innate connection with spirituality, who were the most removed and wicked.  So, he prayed only for the “righteous” of his generation.

It was not until the generation of Moshe, who gave us the Torah, that the upper and lower realms became fully joined and connected.  And that is why we find that it was Moshe who was the first to pray for ALL of his generation.  When God wanted to destroy the Jewish people after the sin of the golden calf, and establish Moshe’s progeny as the Jewish people, Moshe “rebelled.”  He told God, “if so, remove me from Your book, the Torah.”  If his entire generation was not forgiven, Moshe was not interested in any “deals.”  Since with the giving of the Torah the upper and lower worlds were joined, Moshe prayed for the wicked as well as the righteous of his generation.

For a much more detailed and lengthy explanation of these concepts, go to www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly/w_Vayera_5766.php

From Likutei Sichot of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, vol. 15, pp 83-92

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