Going Outside Yourself

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Going Outside Yourself

Karen Berg
October 30, 2022
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This article on the portion of the week was originally published in 2019.

This week’s portion is Lech Lecha, which means to “go out,” and these are the very words that God speaks to Abraham in the story. It is here that God appoints Abraham to be his messenger, to leave the place where he lives, to “go out,” and to spread spirituality amongst the world.

"Every person’s path is different."

The story always reminds me of the early days with Rav Berg in Israel. The Kabbalah Centre then was not like the Kabbalah Centre we know today. There were no study groups or student support, there were no teachers around the world, no local Centres which students could go to anytime to connect. It was just the Rav, myself, and a handful of students studying in Israel. We could have stayed that way forever. It might have, at times, been more comfortable and certainly a lot less work. Yet, we felt the Light calling upon us to “go out,” to expand our reach so that we could share this life-changing wisdom with more people. That was when we started spending more time in New York, where the Rav began teach and study with students out of a basement in Queens. It was a leap of faith, but if we had not made that leap, the many Centres you see around the world today might not have ever existed.

What does this mean for each of us personally though? Are we all supposed to leave the city we live in, and go out into the world and spread spirituality? I don’t think that’s the answer. For we know from last week’s portion of Noach that every person’s path is different. For me, the words “go out” don’t necessarily refer to a change in location, but a change in behavior. This week, we are being called upon to go outside of ourselves.

"We are being called upon to go outside of ourselves."

It’s not an easy task, going outside of ourselves. We all have goals in life, each of us with our own daily to-do lists, our agenda of things that must be done, and with all of this can sometimes come a sense of pressure, worry, stress, or strife. For some of us, it might be paying the bills; for others, it might be dealing with some kind of addiction or illness, God forbid, but no matter the specifics, we all face daily challenges. It can be so difficult to extend ourselves to others when we are so busy fighting our own personal battles. Yet, one of the greatest gifts of spirituality is the ability to help another with their problems even when we are going through our own.

That’s the spiritual level that Abraham achieved, as we read this week in the portion of Lech Lecha. Abraham faced many tests, many challenges, and yet it did not deter him from a path of sharing his love of God with others.

There is an energy that exists in the universe this week which can assist us to go outside of ourselves. This week, expand your circle of care by sharing not just with friends and family and those closest to you, but with whomever the Creator sees fit to cross your path at any given moment. Strike up a conversation with someone, look into the eyes of the person standing next to you, and take a moment to ask people how they’re doing, how their day is, how you can help. Even when we are in the throes of our own troubles, our own darkness and despair, this exercise of going outside of ourselves can bring the Light to bear on our own darkness. As I often say, there is a program that exists in the cosmic that when we take care of others, the universe takes care of us.

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