This week we read Parshat VaYera. The parsha opens with Abraham sitting at the opening of his tent, recovering from his covenantal surgery. “The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground/וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו ה' בְּאֵלֹנֵי מַמְרֵא, וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל כְּחֹם הַיּוֹם.”
Who are these people that Abraham sees? The Zohar teaches that these three are in fact our Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Chernobyler Rebbe teaches that the Holy Torah is inside of every person and in all times, for she is eternal. The Holy Blessed One is found inside of every single Jew, even those that act wickedly or often miss the mark. The proof for this is that everyday, musings of repentance/teshuva come to the wicked. And in this God appears to him/her. And when s/he walks in this, and pays attention, then s/he will say “when will my actions reach the level of my ancestors?” For the ancestors are the chariot that God rides on. When you are part of God’s chariot, you do not lead the way. The rider leads, not the horse. One strives to be led by God, and not by the evil inclination/yeitzer ha’ra.
The Chernobyler is saying that we are all Abraham sitting at the tent opening, struggling to find our next steps. If we pay attention closely, we will see our ancestors and push ourselves to be deserving of their legacy. This weekend is the 22nd anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. We remember the handsome young man who left his agricultural dreams behind to join the Palmah as a soldier and fight for Israel’s independence. We remember the IDF Chief of Staff who liberated Jerusalem. We remember the Prime Minister who seriously pursued an end to the conflict. We remember the recipient of the Nobel Prize the way that he described himself, as a “Soldier in the Army for Peace.”
This week we have an opportunity to look up to those that came before us. We must ask, how can we be more like them? How can I fight for my people? How can I embody the values that my ancestors exemplified? The answer is right in the Chernobyler’s teaching. We need to lift our heads up and look beyond ourselves. When we pay close attention, we can truly see our own shortcomings and see the levels that we would like to reach. May this week bring us the strength to see what God is always showing us: the path that our ancestors paved for us so that we might follow it.
 Gen. 18:1
 Rabbi Menachem Nochum Twersky of Chernobyl (born 1730, Norynsk, Volhynia - died 1787, Chernobyl, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth) was the founder of the Chernobyl Hasidic dynasty. He was a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezritch, and published one of the first works of Hasidic thought.
 Me’or Einayim, Parshat VaYera
Rabbi Ezra Balser has been the rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom since July 1, 2016. He received his “smicha” (ordination) in June 2017 from Hebrew College while also earning a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies. He has also received the iCenter's Certification in Israel Education.