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Stand Up

Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:October 2, 2013

There is an amazing teaching focused on this week’s portion from the Ari. Abraham had two brothers, Haran and Nahor, and it is in this week's portion that Haran died. The Ari tells us that Haran was reincarnated into Aaron, the brother of Moses, a tremendous spiritual giant; the name Aharon has the name Haran in it, with the addition of an Aleph which represents a growth or an injection of the Light of the Creator.

At the time of Abraham everybody thought there were many different forces in the world and you worshiped different idols to help you with different things. But Abraham began realizing that there is a unique force behind this world, and that is where you have to focus your energies – connecting to, and unifying with, that force – instead of worshiping these different idols.

However, Terach, his father, was a great idol worshiper and dealer. He sold idols to many people; this was his life's business. When he saw his son start to go against not only him, but also his business and the world, he went to Nimrod who was the leader at the time, and told him to do something about his son. Nimrod said, “Okay, let me kill him,” and threw Abraham into a fire. As we know, a miracle happened and Abraham was saved from the fire… and he started changing the world. But what was going on with his brother Haran during all of this? When the father told Nimrod, “Kill my son,” Haran was there.

Rashi says in the Midrash that Haran was one of those people who doesn't want to get too involved, doesn't want to take a stand; especially when it can lead to death or it can lead to trouble. Specifically it says he is “sitting” which means he is not taking a stand. Haran decides that if Abraham is somehow miraculously saved, it would mean that he is telling the truth, and so he will follow his path, but if Nimrod succeeds in killing Abraham, it would mean that his path is the right path, and so Haran will go with Nimrod. Haran is making it very clear that he is not going to side with one or the other; he thinks Abraham is right, but he is not willing to sacrifice his life or even put himself in the middle of all this drama. So when the miracle happened and Abraham was saved, Haran said, “Okay, I am on Abraham's side.” And then his father Terach took him and threw him into the fire, and he died.

Why did he die? This is about the responsibility to stand up; not to stand up only when things seem a little easy. Abraham was saved not just because he stood up, because Haran also stood up, but because he stood up immediately, he stood up when he had no idea what was going to happen from it - death or life. Haran stood up when things, he thought, would be a little bit easier, when Abraham had already proven the path. But because Haran was waiting for it to be a little bit easier, he lost his chance in that incarnation to correct himself.

The understanding here is that if you do not stand up for your path, in time, you may have to come back for a whole other incarnation and stand up. The Ari, in section 33 in The Gate of Reincarnations, speaks about the incarnations of Aaron, of Haran, and his next step as Aaron. Now Aaron is reincarnated, and he was clearly an unbelievably righteous person, but in truth, he came to this world to correct only one thing: standing up. Aaron spends 24 hours a day sharing, helping, and making peace, but all of his great work was not really what his soul came to this world to correct; there was only one moment in his life for which he came into this world, and that was when the Israelites wanted to make the golden calf. They came to him and said, "What do you say, are you with us or against us?"

This is the same question that Nimrod asked Haran. We know that in the time of Abraham, Haran answered: "I'm with Abraham," but a little bit late, when it was easier, and so he was reincarnated into Aaron. And what happened when the test came again? He couldn't say it, he was scared. He made the same mistake; he was not going to make a golden calf, but he wasn't going to stand up until a little bit later, and, as such, he wasn't going to correct. Certainly Aaron reached great heights, but he did not achieve the correction of Haran. The Ari goes on to say an amazing thing; he says that Aaron was meant to have himself killed at that moment. Aaron's correction was to stand up in that moment of the golden calf and be killed.

But why in that moment did Aaron start thinking about all the reasons he shouldn't give up his life? Because that's the reason he's in this world. And this is true for all of us; every single time we have reasons and excuses for ourselves not to become uncomfortable, not to stand up, we need to stop and think it’s because standing up is the only reason we are in this world. Literally the last thing in the world that we want to do, the most difficult thing for us to do, is the only thing we are here to do.

We are unique in who we are, and we are unique in what we are here to correct. Both the good things and the terribly uncomfortable things are what make us unique, and they are why we are in this world. The Ari says that every single person needs to know his Shoresh Neshamah, the source, the root of his soul. How does the source of your soul become revealed to you? When you come to this understanding and keep drilling it into your mind that the most uncomfortable, the most terrible things that are happening in your life now, are all part of the process to bring you to reveal your uniqueness. Living with this consciousness doesn’t necessarily take away the difficulty of standing up or being uncomfortable, but it gives it joy.

There really is so much to say about this, but the lesson that we want to take out of it is to start looking at our lives in this way. The source of our soul needs to come to this understanding of our uniqueness and how everything - the terrible things, the good things, the uncomfortable things – are all perfect for the development of our unique Light. When you begin knowing in this way, the Creator starts revealing to you. And when the Creator starts revealing to you, you understand, and you're full of joy from the terrible times and uncomfortable times.

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