'Let There Be Headlights'

Thursday, 6 November, 2014 - 11:15 pm

 Harry is on his hands and knees looking for something under a street-lamp.
“What are you looking for?” asked his wife Sadie.
“I lost my wallet.”
“Where’d you lose it?
“Back there”, motioned Harry pointing behind him.
“Then why are you looking here?!” asked his annoyed wife.
“Because there is light over here!”



My heart skipped a beat—I felt a bit queasy. My wife’s engagement ring was lost.

It was February, 2002, and my wife of six months and I were on our ‘honeymoon’—a ski trip we’d arranged for 14 local Jewish Teenage girls. During the drive, my wife’s ring had slipped off her finger and fallen to the floor of the van, near the passenger door.

“No matter what, don’t open the door!” I recall Miriam saying.

After dropping off the girls at their accomodations, we headed off to Chabad of Reno for the night, when the realization suddenly hit me. I had forgotten about the ring and I’d opened the passenger door…

Scrambling, we looked all over the van, but we couldn’t find it. It was lying somewhere, anywhere—in a vast, dark, frigid parking lot.

Doubling back, we pulled into the parking lot, the big van lurching as we pulled into the apartment complex--the darkness illuminated only by the van's headlights. Miraculously, a tiny spark of light glinted in the darkness, we'd found the ring. All it took was a beacon of light.

In this week’s Parsha, we read about Avraham’s dedication to G-d. We read about Abraham’s circumcision, about his unsuccessful defense of the city of Sodom, and about his total commitment which extended to his willingness to offer his only son to G-d.

Remarkable. Yet there is something even more amazing—the fact that Avraham did this against the backdrop of a society which was totally ‘in the dark’ about G-d.  Echad Haya Avraham – he was alone.

The Chassidic masters describe the world as having sparks of The Divine concealed within it. It is our job -- by doing Mitzvot-- to find these spark and reconnect them with G-d. Working in a dark landscape, Avraham forged ahead, focusing a steady ray of light -- thus illuminating both his world and ours. 

When we focus on the darkness that surrounds us, we are easily overwhelmed. A good set of headlights will help us find the Divine Diamonds we seek.  

Shabbat Shalom, 

Rabbi Yisroel Hecht 

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