The ultimate aim in the creation of man was that he should strive to emulate G-d by following His attributes, like by being compassionate, giving and having a positive influence over the scheme of things. Also in deeds, like keeping Shabbat- just like G-d did. Adam was the forerunner, the first man. He was given the job of being “Tzaddik Yesod Olam”- the Righteous One, the foundation of the world. By connecting the elements of earth, wind, fire and water with his human intelligence and will, he was to make heaven on earth. “And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground” (Genesis 1:7) There is a famous saying- “Lo bashamayim hee”- It is in the hands of people to make it happen. Bringing it all to a practical level of worship, he was told to guard and keep the Gan, but almost as soon as we cut the ribbon on a brand new world, he fails at “minding the store”. This led to his downfall. Forgetting that he was from the dust of the earth and emulating G-d, he wanted to know it all and to be on the same level of G-d.
2,000 years later, the plan for knowing G-d was put into motion by the first believing man, Abraham. He was returned to the Gan, the Land of Israel, rectifying Adam’s expulsion. Here, he maintained a new order of faith in one G-d. Everything was given to Adam, but it was only the Patriarchs in the Land that experienced the reality of G-d in their lives. Their ascent into higher spiritual dimensions was acquired through many tests and hardships, scenes in which they were brought down to their knees. Abraham says, “Who am I but dust and ashes” (Vayera 18:27) He was promised the entire Land, but had to pay for a burial plot for Sarah in Chevron. He was promised the Promised Land, but had to fight in wars. He knew G-d, but he, Abraham, had to “make it happen”. He had to do the guarding and keeping.
In Masechet Yoma there is a tractate dealing with the place called “Even Hashtiya “. This is the foundation stone from which the entire world was formed. This is the stone that protrudes from the floor of the Temple Mount in the area of the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem. It was here that Abraham was promised seed as many as “the dust of the earth”. It all begins and ends right here in this place. Abraham called this place, HaHar (the mountain) which in Chasidism symbolizes great love, the Divine attribute personified by Abraham. He wasn’t looking to eat from the tree of knowledge and he didn’t want to know it all. He ran to serve G-d through serving humanity. He is called AV hamone goyim- the father of many nations, but the covenant was passed through Abraham’s son, Yitzchak. Yitzchak, who was bound on an altar on this very stone was ready to give his life for G-d. Ya’akov, his son, had a dream of a ladder going up to heaven on this stone. He called this place HaBayit (the House) where the soul experiences the absolute unity of G-d. He later became the father of the 12 tribes that make up the unit of the House of Israel. These foundations are all based on this foundation stone, made of dust, the stone that was made “in the beginning”.
Rectifying a long exile of AGAIN 2,000 years, we return to walk the paths of our fathers into the Land- to guard it and keep it. We are only at the beginning of climbing the mountain and building a home. Please help us to do so.
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith