Dvar Torah - Vaera

Before going on holiday this week, I couldn't find our keys. I looked all over and simply couldn't work out where I had put them. Eventually, Ahuva joined in, and of course she found them immediately. I asked where they had been, and she said: "Where they belong”. Right next to the front door. I had looked for the keys everywhere except for where they should actually be, which is where they were.

Life is often like this. It is very hard to find even the things we are very familiar with, even when we should really know where they are. Sometimes the solution is just to keep looking. But sometimes the solution is to look at things differently, maybe even bring someone in who has a completely different perspective.

The Torah begins this week's portion by telling Moshe: "And I appeared to Abraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya'akov with (the name) E-l Sha-dai and with my name A-donay I was not known to them." Rashi immediately explains that the difference between the two names is that the first represents the G-d who makes promises, whereas the second, His true name, represents the G-d who has kept them.

However, there is a problem. The name A-donay is used repeatedly by G-d when speaking to the forefathers in the books of Bereishit. Many answers have been suggested to explain this discrepancy, but perhaps the simplest is what is right in front of us. The fathers heard that name, the true name of G-d, but to them it was meaningless because they were repeatedly promised ownership of the land and a full nation of offspring, promises not kept in their lifetime. It was only with the passage of four hundred years that the true nature of G-d would be revealed to their descendants.

This is the nature of our lives. Often to understand what we are looking at, or to find what we need, we first must use a different perspective. Sometimes another person can provide that different way of looking at the world. Sometimes we must simply wait for the passage of time. As we enter 2022 sorely in need of a new way of seeing things, let's all remember that while we don't have someone to find it for us, we have ourselves. As we continue to advance, the world can indeed become a different and better place if we allow it to.

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