Becoming Close To GodDecember 2, 2021 - 12:00 am
Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. — Genesis 18:2
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Vayeira, which means “and he appeared,” from Genesis 18:1—22:24.
I have always cherished my prayer time in the mornings. There is something about the quiet dawning of a new day that helps me feel close to God. But the longer I have been involved in IFCJ Canada’s work of helping people in need, I realize that I feel closest to God when I am helping others.
This week’s Torah portion begins, “The LORD appeared to Abraham… while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent” (Genesis 18:1). According to Jewish tradition, even though Abraham had undergone circumcision just days earlier, he was sitting at the entrance to his home desperately looking for potential guests upon whom he could bestow kindness.
In the next verse, we read that Abraham saw three travelers and ran to greet them. However, considering that Abraham was in the middle of conversing with God, it seems odd that he left God’s presence in order to encounter human beings. Yet, the Jewish sages taught that Abraham’s behaviour was completely appropriate — and instructive.
There is something greater than talking to God — and that is being like God. In the physical world, for two things to become close, they need to be next to each other. But in the spiritual realm, two entities become close when they are similar to one another. If we want to be close to God, we need to be like Him.
How can we be like God? The sages taught, “Just as the Lord clothes the naked as He did with Adam, so you clothe the naked; just as the Lord visits the sick as He did with Abraham, so you visit the sick; just as the Lord comforts the bereaved as He did with Isaac, so you comfort the bereaved; just as the Lord buries the dead as He did with Moses, so you bury the dead.”
The way to become like God and get closer to Him is to treat all people with kindness and love. We are created in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:27), and the more we reflect His image, the more we will feel His presence in our lives.