Power Outage and Parshat Lech Lecha

What does Parshat Lech Lecha have to do with a power outage? This seems more like a Noach sort of situation.

Having recently listened to a talk by my high school teacher Rabbi Shmuel Greenberg (may he have a full and speedy recovery), I found a connection. Rabbi Greenberg, teaching the Maharal commentary, said the world was destroyed when the 3 pillars of the world: Torah, service of the heart (davening aka prayer), and kind deeds, were no longer in the world. What prevailed was promiscuity, idolatry, and theft. Promiscuity is the opposite of Torah, idolatry the opposite of service of the heart, and theft the opposite of kind deeds.

How is idolatry the opposite of service of the heart aka davening (prayer)? Because ideally when we daven we are pouring our heart out to G-d. Furthermore, the word eved, meaning servant, is at the root of the word avodah, meaning work. We are subservient to G-d.

What is idolatry?

Idols are man-made, self-initiated. So when we worship idolatry, we are really worshipping ourselves.

Shabbat comes every week to shake us up—to remind us to LET GO of our pursuits, and LET G-D. To leave our unfinished business, no matter where it stands, and celebrate G-d as the creator and sustainer of the world.

This is something I’ve always struggled with—I love getting things done and I LOVE finishing tasks!

Yesterday when we didn’t have power (at work too), I did a boat load of chart review and created a handwritten spreadsheet.

It came out to about 10 pages. Now, I cannot wait to type it all up and make it more organized and user-friendly.

But it’s Friday. And we have a full case load today, so as long as the power is back at work (and I hope it is), it’s gonna have to wait till some time next week.

Ahhh, this experience is anguishing for me. It goes against my very instinct to complete and beautify my efforts!

And so does Shabbat.

Cuz in the end, it’s not about me. My personal efforts, my plans. I am part of a greater universe, a vast one at that.

Shabbat is a time to step out of my world and into G-d’s world.

Parshat Lech Lecha introduces us to Avraham, the first forefather of the Jewish nation. It tells of how his culture was steeped in idolatry, even he was at first. Then he started to realize that behind the moon that everyone was worshipping, beyond the stars, there was a G-d. He went on to share his discovery and introduce monotheism to the world.

A little light prevails over a lot of darkness, the saying goes. And boy do I know what darkness is, more than 24 hours into this power outage!

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