Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Long and Torturous Route...


I've always been a bit puzzled and frightened by the narrative in Parshas Balak.
Bilaam is approached by messengers of the King of Moav who beseech him to come curse the Jews.
He obviously knows deep down that it's not a good thing to do and yet he really wants to go along with them, so he tells them to spend the night while he receives divine permission.
And amazingly enough Hashem tells him that he could follow them but only utter what he tells him to.
So off they go and although there are unmistakable hints along the way goading him to turn back, he ignores them and continues on with "G-ds blessing".
The story ends with him basically becoming a puppet of Hashem.

The lesson of this story is summed up by the words of Chazal "B'Derech SheOdom Rotze Leilech, Molichin Oso.."
Translated loosely means In the path that a person wants to go...he is led that way. This is true no matter which path you choose.
Basically, if you choose bad, Hashem will try sending you messages and hints to get you to turn around, but if you're stubborn enough to continue on, then Hashem will even help you in you errant way.

Why is that?
What is the logic behind this?
I could understand Hashem not stopping you and not getting in the way of your free will, but why would he help you?

I think sometimes we think we're running away from Hashem and it feels like it, but in reality we're running right into his arms.
I think of Yona who ran as far as he could only to find himself right back where he needed to be.
I think of the Yona from Noahs Teiva who flew away, only to find nowhere to land and end up right back at the ark.

I think of the spiritual world as a round globe. You can either go next door the straight and logical way or you could take the long and torturous route all the way around the world.

So when it says Hashem helps you go in the errant way that you insist on going, it's because he knows that this way also leads back to him. That eventually, by trial and error, by a process of spiritual maturing, the long and winding road will make it's way back, as long as a persons heart is open to it.


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Anonymous Ruth.E said...

Hmm… I like that. Puts me in mind of a GPS. Insistent on going my own way, it might call for me to make “the next available U-turn,” but I ignore it until at some point (when I’m 3 counties away and hopelessly lost), I recognize my mistake and am ready to turn around. But Hashem knows, as does my GPS apparently, that the best route may not be to retrace my steps. No matter the directions I turn or the distance I drive, there is a constant “recalculation of directions” on the part of the GPS. The path into his arms can be (indeed, is oh so often!) made from side streets and interstates that were never part of the original directions.

Perhaps Hashem calls to us not to retrace those steps not only because it wouldn’t be the most efficient… Perhaps he’s making use of the distance we’ve traveled… There is great learning in an about-face return; but even more if the return takes you on paths your feet have never touched.

“Spiritual world as a round globe”… Love that, thanks David.

July 04, 2010 11:09 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

I like the GPS analogy.

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