November 3, 2022 / 9 Mar Cheshvan, 5783 • Parshat Lech Lecha
Issue 742
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Abram continued on his way, moving
steadily toward the south.

Genesis 12:9

The words for “moving steadily” in Hebrew literally mean “going and traveling.” Allegorically, this refers to the spiritual process of “running and returning,” the two interdependent yet opposing thrusts that must occur constantly and alternately in order for life to continue and for physical and spiritual growth to take place.

For example, in its yearning to return to its Divine source, the soul aspires to leave the body, but as soon as it starts to do so and achieves the Divine consciousness it was seeking, it is reminded of its Divine mission and humbly returns to the body to continue with its task. This constant spiritual oscillation is reflected in the physical pulsation of the heart and lungs.

Our mission to unite heaven and earth must also comprise both “running and returning,” separating ourselves periodically from the mundane world by losing ourselves in meditation, prayer, or Torah study, yet always returning to the world to fulfill our mission.

—from Daily Wisdom3