Sitting outside his tent, Avraham sees three strangers. Maybe this was unusual for him, living in a lonely wilderness. But we see people passing by everyday and though we may see them, they are not apparent to us. They do not register in our minds. People pass into and out of our lives without our inner sight ever registering them as sacred guests in the hotel of our soul.
The name of our Torah Potion invites us to open our inner sight. The name of our Torah Potion challenges us to leave the light on for the sacred guests. The name of our Torah Potion this week calls us to ‘awe-awareness’. VaYe’Ra derives from the Hebrew root Resh Alef Hey, meaning ‘to see’. That root itself does not assert awareness. But the way in which the letters are placed engages us, evoking a higher meaning. This word, the first word of the potion, VaYera, intimates the intimate process of elevating sight into awareness. The word VaYera is related to another root; Yod Resh Alef which means awe. Indeed our Potion title is spelled Vahv Yod Resh Alef. The Remez key/clue here is that sometimes we see things with only our eyes, that is, our limited sight. But sometimes things appear to us, appear to our inner sight, and we become ‘awe-aware’. That is the teaching of the title of this week’s potion: “Awe-awareness!” In the story we see three strangers treated with kindness and compassion, with affable accommodation. Avram runs out to greet the guests pleading that their stopping for food and rest would be a great compliment to him. He washes their feet, hot from travel, in cool waters. Food and drink are placed before the guests. Avram even interrupts a discussion with G to accompany the guests a little way, to give them a good send-off.
Avram treated these strangers as if they were messengers from G and indeed they were. The question now arises, are not all guests messengers from G. Are not all people who come within our ‘sight’ in potential, messengers from G. How would the world be different if we did not just RO’EH (see) people, but they all Ye’Ra (appear) in our inner sight. Every person who passes has an important message for us if we will only let it appear to us. And when the message becomes apparent to us, the awe-awareness blossoms brightly. If we learn not just to see other people but to let them appear to us let them become manifest in us, we take one step towards making our world more Mashiah ready.