by Zev Ballen
Lately I've been immersed in Rabbi Shalom Arush's book The Garden of Wisdom (soon to be available in English, G-d willing) and I haven't been able to put it down. I don't think I have ever been more positively influenced by a book - even one by Rabbi Arush himself.
Today I came upon a passage in the Garden of Wisdom that raised a question in my mind. Rabbi Arush said that in his service to Hashem, Abraham remained so separate from others that it was if they did not exist. Rabbi Arush said further that any of us who want to want to serve Hashem in Truth must be willing to do the same - to be separate from others as though they do not exist.
How can we reconcile this teaching that Abraham lived his life as though there was only himself and Hashem with what the Torah says about Abraham in many other places? The Torah actually describes Abraham as the kindest and most hospitable man that ever lived - the consummate 'people-person' who would go to any length to spread peace and the knowledge of Hashem to anybody.
When Hashem said to Abraham “…I will make you the father of a multitude of nations,” Hashem in effect appointed Abraham to be the father of the entire world. Can you imagine the level of interpersonal savvy that Abraham must have possessed for Hashem to pick him for this role? How could Abraham have been both a religious zealot who separated himself from the world and a loving father-figure to all of the nations? Certainly this cannot be what Rabbi Arush meant when he said that Abraham lived his life as though he were alone with Hashem. See more here...
With Blessings Always,
Dr. Zev Ballen