The Mirror Image by Baruch Schechter



Our relationship with Hashem can sometimes be compared to the view of a person who looks into a mirror. When the beholder takes a step backward, the image in the mirror does so as well. The viewer has thus become two steps further away from the image. The same holds true in the opposite direction. If the viewer draws one step closer to the mirror, the image draws on step closer to him. Similarly, when a person moves away from Hashem, Hashem moves an equal distance away from him. When one draws a step closer to Hashem, Hashem draws one step closer to him. The mirror is clearly a good starting point for exploring the relationship between man and Hashem. However, the mirror does not prove to be a completely accurate parable for this purpose, because in many instances Hashem does not respond in a manner similar to the actions of man. When one turns his back to Hashem, for example, Hashem does not always respond by "turning His back" to the person.

One can perhaps see this idea that Hashem does not ever completely "turn His back" to us by carefully examining the Pesukim in this week's Parsha, where Hashem informs Yaakov that He will go down with him to Egypt and that He, Hashem Himself, will ultimately bring Yaakov up from there (מ"ו:ד' בראשית). But did this actually turn out to be true? Did Yaakov not die in Egypt? Why would Hashem make a promise and then not keep it? Rashi (שם) explains that in this Posuk, Hashem promised Yaakov that he would be brought up from Egypt -posthumously - and that he would be buried in Eretz Yisrael. Another explanation of this Posuk suggests that Hashem was telling Yaakov not to worry, saying that although Yaakov and his children may be entering a foreign land where they may suffer spiritually, and indeed eventually turn away from Hashem, Hashem will still remain with them. Not only will Hashem be with them, but He will also take them out of Egypt and raise them up both spiritually and physically. In other words, Hashem was saying that even if, in this Golus, Yaakov's descendants may turn away from Hashem and sink to a low level, Hashem will not abandon them, but will rather raise them up again.

We, who are currently living in (what will, with Hashem's help, be the final) exile, should not forget this important lesson. One should not believe that if he is on a low spiritual level, Hashem has turned against him, because if he were to do so, he would never be able to amass the strength to do Teshuvah. Hashem is with us at all times, even when we are spiritually weak, and will never abandon us even if we have started to abandoned Him.

Yosef Is Alive by Hillel Rudolph

Merge the Trees by Ezra Frazer