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Home » Passover, Vaeirah

Vaeirah: Four Steps

Submitted by on January 16, 2006 – 1:55 amNo Comment | 2,634 views

Dynamics of Relationships

In this week’s Parsha we read the four expressions of redemption. “I shall extract you, save you, redeem you and take you”. There seems to be a fascination in Judaism with the number four. At the Seder we drink four goblets of wine, we have four matriarchs, Torah exegesis is divided into four general methods. What is the significance of this number?

All interactive relationships, including the one between G-d and mankind, consist of four elements.

  1. The bestower as he stands alone.
  2. The bestower as he prepares to bestow.
  3. The receiver as he prepares to receive.
  4. The receiver as he stands alone.

Four Steps In Meditation

In preparing to pray it is helpful to meditate upon the four aspects of this dynamic.

Reflection on the bestower as he stands alone.
Initial reflection upon G-d’s true essence generates a sense of awe and humility as we sense that we stand before infinite greatness. Humility opens the path to self-elevation as we recognize that we have yet to realize our full potential.

Reflection on the bestower as he prepares to bestow.
Recognition that G-d takes of his time to interact with, and to bestow blessing upon, man triggers a sense of gratitude, that in turn generates a desire within man to draw closer to G-d.

At this point we progress from the preparatory stages to the actual receiving stage.

Reflection on the receiver as we prepare to receive.
We now meditate upon elevation of self to the pinnacle of devotion and Divine consecration. We fan the flames of our natural love for G-d and sincerely yearn to cleave to him. This in turn stimulates a desire within G-d to respond with blessing and love.

Reflection on he receiver as we stand alone.
We know that G-d’s greatness permeates every level of creation so we endeavor to share this enlightenment and inspiration with the lower aspects of our personality. We return to our original position and bring warmth and G-dly joy to the mundane environment of our every day.

Four Steps of Exodus

We now understand the four expressions of redemption, enunciated in our Parsha, as they are enacted in the exodus from our personal Egypt every day. These four steps must be taken before one can take the four steps of prayer described above. For these steps take us out of our personal Egypt and it is only after being extracted from Egypt that we may approach G-d.

This extraction begins on the lowest rung and works upward towards the top.

  1. “I shall extract you from the burdens of Egypt” – We are extracted from a place of contentment with self and brought to a realization that we are capable of more.
  2. “I shall save you from their servitude” – We are actually committed to draw close G-d and to serve him as opposed to serving our personal Egypt.
  3. “I shall redeem you with an outstretched arm” – Our ascent to a higher awareness level stimulates a response from G-d as he “stretches his arm out” toward us.
  4. “I shall take you for myself as a nation” – Our lives are devoted to being the people of G-d; to receive of his purity and spirit and to delight in his infinite presence.
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