Torch Bearers

6 years ago bbursk 0

Torch Bearers

(Parshat Chayei Sarah)

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about “The Life of Sarah.” It details, among other things, the events following our foremother Sarah’s passing. There is a specific section of this parsha which I related to deeply that I’d like to share with you all:

The parsha states that Abraham presents himself as “a stranger and a resident amongst you (23:4)”

In the parsha, he says this in reference to visiting the people of Heth to buy a plot of land for Sarah’s burial, but this is also a message for us. This speaks to us Jews, and how although we are residents of this world, we are also strangers among other nations. It’s a pretty odd statement: A stranger and a resident?

From the moment each of us was born, we were entrusted with a mission to bring more light into the world. It was a mission that was given collectively to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai when we received the Torah, and one that was given to each of us individually. But, what does bringing more light into the world mean? When we perform acts of goodness and kindness, such as giving charity or helping our peers, we in turn bring more light into the world. And where there is light, darkness cannot continue to exist. We are responsible to share our light with everyone, no matter religion, race, or creed.

Let’s go back to the following verse: if I am really a stranger, how can I get involved in the world? And, at the same time, if I am a resident, it is my job to treat everyone I come in contact with like family. It doesn’t make sense!

What does it mean to be a stranger? We first need to understand something about our own lives. We are affected by everything around us, beginning with the people we choose to surround ourselves with. When you surround yourself with positive people, they influence your thoughts, speech, and behaviour. So too, when you surround yourself with negative people, their behaviour rubs off on you. Being a stranger means knowing when to allow people to influence you, and when to take a step back. In turn, when we step back, we realise a bigger picture and that we are each meant for greater and greater things. Once we are able to reflect and understand, we can then begin to grow we are giving the goodness/light a channel we are allowing ourselves to reach our full potential.

Now by resident, my interpretation is that we shouldn’t always focus on our possession—we shouldn’t be tied down to a new IPhone or a new pair of jeans. We need to start thinking about what’s important in life—not only for our families our friends, but for ourselves. We need to realise that true happiness comes from when we make others happy. We need to be residents, which in turn makes us neighbours; as a neighbour, it’s your responsibility to look after the other residents and people of the community, it’s time we took action and brought the light and beauty of torch into our daily lives.

Keep bearing the torch and may we greet Moshiach immediately.