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Dvar Torah: Parshat Vayera

Rabbi Alexander Tsykin

Wrestling with God is a sign of intimacy. You can’t wrestle with someone you’re far away from.” Jon Acuff (New York Times Columnist)

This week features one of the most iconic of Jewish scenes, Avraham Avinu stands on top of a mountain overlooking the plain of Sodom and demands of G-d that He let the inhabitants live. G-d rebuffs him, repeatedly, but Avraham constant comes back for more. He refuses to be satisfied with failure here. We constantly speak of Avraham's love for all people. But this story is also about Avraham's close relationship with Hashem. One cannot contend with G-d in this fashion unless one feels genuine intimacy.

We tend to think of Ya'akov Avinu as being the one who wrestles with G-d. After all, he's the one who is renamed for it (Yisra'el). However, Avraham is the first one. The intimacy he feels, impossibly, with one is beyond us all is core to his personality. Since it is a part of what makes Avraham who he is, it came down through Ya'akov and is in our DNA. As a people, our relationship with Hashem is one of love, or fear, and of intimate confrontation.

May we always preserve that beautiful relationship that makes us different.

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