Kabbalistic Concepts

Stand Up When It’s Difficult

Abraham had two brothers, Haran and Nahor, and it is in the portion of Noach that Haran dies. The Ari tells us that Haran was later reincarnated into Aaron, the brother of Moses, a tremendous spiritual giant; the name Aharon has the name Haran in it, with the addition of an Aleph, which represents an injection of the Light of the Creator.

During the time of Abraham, people believed there were many forces in the world, and that different idols should be worshiped to help with different things. But Abraham began realizing that there is only one unique force behind this world, and that connecting to and unifying with it, instead of worshiping these different idols, is where we have to focus our energies.

However, Terach, his father, was a great idol worshiper whose life’s business was selling idols to many people. So, when he saw his son, Abraham, start to go against not only him, but also his business and the world, Terach went to Nimrod, the leader at the time, and told him to do something about his son, to which Nimrod threw Abraham into a fire. As we know, a miracle happened and Abraham was saved from the fire, and he started changing the world. But what was going on with Abraham’s brother, Haran, during all of this?

When Terach told Nimrod, “Kill my son,” Haran was there. Rashi tells us in the Midrash that Haran was one of those people who didn't want to get too involved, or take a stand, especially when it could lead to death or trouble. Specifically, it says Haran is “sitting,” which means he is not taking a stand. Haran decides that if Abraham were somehow miraculously saved, it would mean that he is telling the truth, and so he will follow his path, but if Nimrod succeeds in killing Abraham, it would mean that his path is the right path, and so Haran will follow Nimrod. Haran, therefore, is making it very clear that he is not going to side with one or the other; and while he thinks Abraham is right, he is not willing to sacrifice his life or even put himself in the middle of it. Only when the miracle happened and Abraham was saved, did Haran say, “Okay, I am on Abraham's side,” to which his father responded by then throwing him into the fire, and he died.

Why did Haran die and Abraham live? It is about the responsibility to stand up, and not just when things seem easy. Abraham was saved not just because he stood up, but because he stood up immediately, he stood up when he had no idea what was going to happen by doing so - death or life. Haran, however, stood up only when he thought things  would be a little easier, when Abraham had already proven the path. But because Haran was waiting for it to be easier, he lost his chance in that incarnation to correct himself.

The understanding we get from this is that if we do not stand up for our path, in time, we may have to come back for a whole other incarnation and do it. The Ari, in section 33 in The Gate of Reincarnations, speaks about the incarnations of Aaron, and of Haran’s next step as Aaron. Haran was reincarnated as Aaron, an unbelievably righteous person. But, in truth, he came to this world to correct only one thing: to stand up. Aaron spent 24 hours a day sharing, helping, and making peace, but all of his great work was not really what his soul came to this world to correct; there was only one moment in his life for which he came into this world, and that was when the Israelites wanted to make the golden calf. They came to him and said, "What do you say, are you with us or against us?" It was the same question that Nimrod asked Haran.

In the time of Abraham, Haran answered, "I'm with Abraham," but he said it late, when it was easier, and so, he was reincarnated into Aaron. What happened when the test came again? He couldn't say it and made the same mistake. And while he was not going to make a golden calf, he wasn't going to stand up until a little bit later, and, as such, he didn’t correct. Certainly, Aaron reached great heights, but he did not achieve the correction of Haran.

The Ari says that Aaron, to achieve his correction, actually was meant to have himself be killed at that moment. But then, why in that moment did Aaron start thinking about all the reasons he shouldn't give up his life? Because that was the reason he was in this world. And this is true for all of us; every single time we have reasons and excuses not to become uncomfortable, not to stand up for something difficult, we need to stop and think it’s because doing so is the only reason we are in this world. The last thing in the world that we want to do, the most difficult thing for us to do, is the thing we are actually here to do.

We are unique in who we are, and we are unique in what we are here to correct. Both the good things and the terribly uncomfortable things are what make us unique, and they are why we are in this world. The Ari says that every single person needs to know the source and root of his soul. How does the source of our soul become revealed to us? When we come to this understanding and keep drilling it into our mind that the most uncomfortable and challenging things that are happening in our life now are all part of the process to bring us to reveal our uniqueness. Living with this consciousness doesn’t necessarily take away the difficulty of standing up or being uncomfortable, but it can give us joy in doing it.

We want to start looking at our lives in this way, to come to the understanding of our uniqueness and how everything - the difficult, the good, the uncomfortable - are all perfect for the development of our unique Light. When we begin to really know and live this, the Creator not only starts revealing the source of our soul to us, but also, we can begin to become full of joy from the difficult and uncomfortable times, because we know they are exactly why we are here.

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