This week’s portion is called Bamidbar, which means ‘in the desert’. So far the literal story of the Torah was very exciting: the creation of the world, the patriarchs and their adventures, the journey into and out of Egypt, and a plethora of miracles and wonders throughout. Now we arrive at the desert.
The kabbalists explain that Hebrew and Aramaic are languages of power that can help us connect to our soul, and also can help us understand life better. One of the ways we can gain a deeper understanding of life is by relating words that have the same numerical value.
‘Desert’ has the same numerical value as ‘Avraham’, which is telling us that this time of the year, this period in which we read the book of Bamidbar, is a time to be like Avraham. What was Avraham like?
The Torah begins the story of Avraham by saying his father was an idol worshiper. Idol worshipping doesn’t only mean bowing to images or statues, it also refers to looking for fulfillment in external things. Taking credit for the good we receive is considered idol worship, because we forget that the only source of goodness and blessings is the universal force we call the Light. So we can say idol worship is the state of not being spiritual, being a victim, being addicted to others’ perceptions of us, being depressed, being reactive. That’s where Avraham came from.
Then the Bible goes ahead and says that Avraham overcame all this. The pinnacle of this triumph was when Avraham was told Lech Lecha; the Creator told Avraham to leave everything. EVERYTHING. He had to leave his family, his house, his city – everyone and everything he knew, he had to leave behind. To go where? The Creator simply said, “Go to where I’ll show you.”
By the way, when this happened, Avraham was 70 years old.
We are talking about a 70-year-old man – who still lives with his dad, who is childless, whose family is negative and selfish (idol worshippers) – who is asked to leave everything he knows and start walking to the unknown.
Avraham did begin his walk, and spent the rest of his life sharing and giving to all that crossed his way.
This time of the year, while we read the book of Bamidbar (Numbers), we have to keep Avraham in mind, because in Avraham’s work we can find the clue of what we need to do in order to squeeze the best energy out of this period of time. This is the time to invest in becoming like Avraham, in being like a desert, in losing self-importance and all depression.
The whole point of the desert is to help us connect to our soul; the real work of the soul is to erase the idea of self-importance, and with that comes the ability to connect to our real power.
The reason we are not joyful inside is because we worry about our ego, our status, all of the time.
This is a time to busy ourselves by helping others, and to be aware of our ego that tries to get us caught up in our selfish issues. Start seeing yourself as a servant that came here to give to and serve others, without recognition, because he’s just doing his job. Have a great week!