• Home
  • Parashah Insights
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals & Fasts
  • Articles
  • Books
  • About
  •  

    Standing before God – Vayyera

    God shows Abraham the stars, woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

    God shows Abraham the stars, woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

    Many shules have an inscription near the Ark that reminds you that you are in the Presence of God.

    Naturally, everyone knows that God’s Presence is not limited to the synagogue. He is everywhere around us even if at that moment we do not particularly have Him in mind.

    What then are we to do with a verse in this week’s reading, which suggests that sometimes Abraham was not in the Divine Presence?

    The verse (Gen. 18:22) says, “And Abraham was still standing before God”. It is not that God comes and goes, or that Abraham is unaware that he can find God everywhere he goes.

    The explanation is that sometimes there is a more intense feeling of God being there.

    There are moments when we only have, as it were, a residual recognition of God. We know He’s there and have no doubts about it. But the experience of being before God is sometimes deeper and sometimes shallower.

    It is in our moments of deep intensity that we get the most out of our encounter with the Divine.

    The ancient pious men are described in the Mishnah B’rachot as never bursting in upon God but sitting in meditation for an hour in order to prepare themselves to be before the Lord.

    Comments are closed.