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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Vayera: Go to Yourself

ויהי אחר הדברים האלה והאלקים נסה את אברהם ויאמר אליו אברהם ויאמר הנני: ויאמר קח נא את בנך את יחידך אשר אהבת את יצחק ולך לך אל ארץ המריה והלהו שם לעלה על אחד ההרים אשר אמר אליך.

And it was after these things, that Hashem tested Avraham.. and He said; “take your son, your only son, that you love, Yitzchak, and go for yourself to the land of Moriah and bring him up as an offering on one of the mountains that I will tell you.

It was the ultimate test. To sacrifice--his own son!

The mission: Overcome his personal love for his son and dedicate that love to his Creator.

And there is another challenge as well. Perhaps more subtle, perhaps deeper. To destroy, with his own two hands, everything he has built throughout his whole life.

For Avraham spent his life preaching and teaching monotheism, the truth of Hashem's oneness, to everyone he encountered. And Avraham lived for and strived to be the paradigm of kindness. Not kindness to be "nice", but to demonstrate the nature of Hashem’s pure kindness to us, and to model the extent that we can emulate Him. And now, not only would Avraham slaughter his son, he would face the impossible and humiliating task of explaining this unexplainable command, which undermines every lesson he has taught and value he has championed.

Avraham passes this test with flying colors. And the rest is history. This merit sustains the Jewish People for millennia to come. It becomes the timeless model of pure sacrifice and greatness. We invoke Avraham's selfless act and try to live up to it each year during the Days of Awe.

There are so many questions, but we will ask just one. What did Hashem mean, “Go for yourself”? How is this for Avraham -- himself?

The same expression is in last week’s sedra: “And Hashem said to Avram, go for yourself”. Rashi there explains that it means go for your own benefit: Here, you will not merit children. In Eretz Yisroel, you will have children. But how do we explain the expression by the Akeida?

The Klei Yakar offers a profound insight. "Go for yourself" can also be understood as "go to yourself". Hashem asks Avraham to connect to his inner self. Go to yourself! Sever your connections to this physical world, and go towards what you are destined to do. And become.

Our mission and purpose in life is to pass our own tests and overcome our struggles. We must face those challenges and go toward ourselves, our life's calling. "Go and connect to yourself" and actualize your potential that is inside you!

May we all merit to find ourselves, and fulfill our missions in our service of Hashem and the learning of His Torah!

Go to yourself! Have a wonderful Shabbos!

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