The story of VaYera directly follows the previous parasha, Lekh-Lekha, in which we learned that in order to connect to the energy of success and bliss we must get out of ourselves and our negative inborn traits.
This story opens with the words “the Lord appeared (VaYera) to him… in the heat of the day, and he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men…and he saw and he ran toward them…”
The story is that Abraham sat at the entrance to the tent, and when guests arrived, he fulfilled the precept of “Hakhnasat Orhim” (hospitality). However, the Midrash teaches us that Abraham, who was 99 years old, had undergone his Brit Mila (circumcision) only three days previously and his pain was at its peak at this time; if that weren’t enough, it was a hot day. In spite of this, the Midrash relates, Abraham was regretting that he was unable to have guests since nobody was traveling because of the day was so, unusually hot.. God perceived his sorrow and sent him guests. The scripture then tells us that as soon as Abraham saw them “he ran toward them”, with such great intent that he ran to slaughtered a calf for them. The calf escaped and Abraham caught up with him in a cave, and that’s how Abraham discovered the “Me’rat HaMakhpela” (the burial cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron).
Abraham understood that in order to succeed in this world, one must get out of oneself, “Lekh-Lekha” (go forth) and act in accordance with “Love others at yourself”. Abraham acts in contrast to human nature. Instead of resting, “he ran toward them… and hurried….and to the calf ran Abraham”, with great enthusiasm. At the moment that Abraham connects with giving to others he discovers the precious cave and is informed of the birth of his son, Isaac. The message and formula the Torah teaches here is for a successful life. The more we get out of ourselves and are concerned with others, the better our lives become.
How does it work?
An important principle in the Torah and in the writings of the Sages states that the true purpose of every person is to attach to the Creator. This begs the question, how is this possible, when the Creator has been described as a “devouring fire”? His power is infinite and mighty, and all who come near Him can be burned. The sages reply, “Attach to His attributes”, “as He is compassionate, be compassionate…” The Kabbalists explain that a human being is mortal, he is selfish and limited, and as far from his Creator as is east from west, and nonetheless, one’s reward is great when one acts with loving-kindness. We can in this way connect to the infinite power in a way that is safe, as like attracts like. All the abundance which we seek – security, health, happiness and love – flow from the Light of the Creator. When we change our selfish nature to a nature of giving, we then connect to the abundance and infinite good. Worth giving it a try.