Do you ever feel alone?Traveling on a journey with no guide?Going into the unknown?Or, do you sometimes feel like someone is watching you?Silently guiding you?Do you feel like you’re being followed?If Abraham were to take the MMPI, that wonderful personality inventory, his answers might be troublesome for the program he was applying to.These are questions Abraham might have grappled with in our Parshah.In parshat Vayera, God’s presence is known, only when God calls out, and acts from behind the curtain.Abraham journeys, with a silent partner, God, lurking in the bushes, calling out from the sky, silently guiding the journey.
Our parshah has many different images of God accompanying Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar.It begins with Abraham and Sarah minding their business in the desert as Abraham heals from his recent circumcision, and all of the sudden these three messengers from God appear, are welcomed in and invade their space.Next, we come upon the events of Sodom and Amora, God puts Abraham to work again, but the task is not easy, and the righteous people are nowhere to be found.
Abraham must have known he was special before this, All this God calling out to him, special directions, fathering a child at an incredibly old age, and yet, there is no mention of his acknowledgement of this.Abraham continues on after the failed attempt at saving Sodom and Amora and moves onto his encounters with Avimelech.Abraham and Avimelech make an oath, who points out to Abraham that God is with him in all that he does.A powerful message evidenced by the encounters with God of Sarah, Hagar, and Abraham.
Once again, Abraham moves on with his life, as God Calls out to him to take his son, his only son, the son that he loves, Isaac and sacrifice him. Abraham exhibits an incredible amount of faith and takes Isaac with him to Mount Moriah. And then, as he is about to commit the aultimate act of trust in God, God calls out to him once more, and this time, Abraham answers HINENI, HERE I AM, I AM HERE, READY, I BELIEVE.
God calls out, and Abraham answers, ready to serve, ready to follow his leader. Abraham is not alone, on every task, God accompanies Abraham, a silent partner, until the time is right to intervene.
“You are not alone, I am here with you” Michael Jackson may have made these lyrics popular, but parshat vayera, our portion, this week teaches us more about this concept and God than any Michael Jackson song ever could. When we are alone, or feeling alone, perhaps we need to take the time to look for the HINEINI moments in our lives. Perhaps God Is calling out to us, we just can’t quite hear it. Perhaps, we must engage in this dialogue, and take a second to recognize as Avimelech did: God is with you in all that you do!
As we enter into Shabbat, Vayera, may we be blessed with the strength and ability to see those things we are too busy to see during the week, to hear those subtle voices of a silent traveling companion, and to stand up with courage and say HINENI, HERE I AM, ready to do my part in the world. May we never feel alone, and recognize that God is here with us.