פרשת חיי שרה

Isaac had just come back from the vicinity of Beer-lahai-roi, for he was settled in the region of the Negev. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening and, looking up, he saw camels approaching.

Isaac was the source of all fear in the world, even in situations that necessitate passivity, as it is written (Genesis 24:62), “For he was settled in the region of the Negev נגב,” meaning, to be dried מנוגב of all desire.
Abraham recognized this quality of Isaac’s essence. He understood the extent to which Isaac’s intense fear manifested, especially in situations that require action. So he sent his servant to find Isaac a wife.

But in truth (Psalms 118:23), “This [too] is the Lord’s doing, for the time came for Isaac to marry, and Isaac himself began to feel (Isaiah 45:18), “He did not create [the world] a waste, But formed it for habitation.”
Isaac needed to have this fear of acting in order to propel him out into the field so he could pray to God to bring him a partner (Talmud Moed Katan 18b), “There are those whose partner comes to them.
And immediately Isaac’s prayers were answered, for he looked up and saw Rebekah approaching, because (Isaiah 65:24), “Before they pray, I will answer.

Isaac doesn’t need anything from the world, but the world needs something from him. He has no earthly desires. He is content just being. And then he feels something. He feels a stirring within, calling on him to find his partner and bring something new and beautiful to the world. But he is so afraid! His whole essence is to NOT do, and here he is feeling something so moving that he has to get up and go outside and pray to God.

The big joke is that God caused the arousal in Isaac. Just like She caused Abraham to send his servant to find a wife for Isaac. God is setting everything up just right so that when Abraham feels what he feels and Isaac feels what he feels, they each do what they have to do. Which is to say that those feelings are divine revelations. Which is to say that all feelings are divine revelations. God is placing that feeling within all of us to elicit a particular action. In Isaac it’s one thing and in us it’s another.
It is being fearless in listening to what’s going on inside, stepping outside ourselves and asking for help in order to make it a reality (and then doing it!), that the divine is revealed in this world. In those moments God is acting through us. And when we are all deeply listening and putting that divine work into place, so then we merit to know that “Before they pray, I will answer.”


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