Monday, November 15, 2010

Keep the Lines of Communication Open!

It's amazing how time flies - we are already at Parshat Vayishlach - the eighth, very busy and exciting chapter of Genesis/Breisheet.

I've noticed some interesting conversations that some of our ancestors have been having with G-d/HaShem over these last eight chapters. (This is not a complete listing.)

In the first chapter, Breisheet, after Adam has eaten the forbidden fruit, G-d calls out (3:9-12):
"Where are you?"
He [Adam] said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked, so I hid.
And He [G-d] said, "Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten of the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?"
The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me - she gave me of the tree, and I ate."

This is an amazing conversation. Adam is not taking personal responsibility for his actions, and is instead blaming it on the woman that G-d gave him, in some ways placing the blame on G-d!

In another famous conversation, G-d comes to Kayin/Cain and asks him where his brother is (4:9)
HaShem said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?"
and he [Cain] said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

Does Kayin actually believe that G-d doesn't know what's transpired? Does Kayin really have the nerve to answer HaShem with an attitude? "Am I my brother's keeper?" Wow.

In Parshat Lech Lecha we find Avram/Abram questioning G-d about his future without children (15:1-2).
...the word of HaShem came to Avram in a vision, saying, "Fear not, Avram, I am a shield for you; your reward is very great."
And Avram said, "My Lord, What can You give me seeing that I go childless...?"

This is the same Abraham (his name will be changed later in this chapter) who left his family, his homeland all based on the word of G-d. We know that Abraham trusts G-d, but still he questions Him?

We also read about the negotiations between Abraham and G-d about the destruction of Sodom - a known evil city (18:23-32). Avram is attempting to stop G-d from destroying the city if a minimum of 10 good people were found. Ultimately, these people were not found, and the city is overturned.

What I'm bringing from all these conversations... is that there was communication between our forefathers/mothers and G-d. All relationships are built through communication - whether between person to person or between a person and G-d. Some people think that we can't question or argue with G-d. I would say that it's a good beginning to building a relationship between us and the Creator.

It's when we stop talking, questioning or arguing with G-d that the relationship begins to fail. At the point where G-d is no longer part of our private dialogue and no longer part of our thought process that the relationship is over.

We see from the Torah that keeping the lines of communication open with G-d is important. He wants to have a relationship with us. When G-d asks the seemingly obvious question to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" it wasn't because G-d didn't know where Abel was, it was in order to start a conversation with Cain - to bring him closer to G-d even after the murder took place. To bring him to teshuva/return.

We have to keep the lines of communication open. Feel free to question, argue, and discuss with G-d. At the same time don't forget to ask, thank and appreciate all those things He does for us as well.

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