Thursday, May 21, 2015

Moving Towards God

If you don't understand what's happening, watching a parent teach his child how to walk can seem to be an exercise in cruelty. The child, off balance and teetering around, reaches out for the parent's hand - and the parent steps back, just beyond the child's reach. Of course, the parent is only trying to teach and prepare his beloved child with integral skills in this fashion, and we recognize this process for what it is. The child forgets about the rudimentary movements as his desire to be closer to his father, within his protective embrace temporarily distracts him from this physical task he is trying to master.

The Ba'al Shem Tov used this as a parable for our struggles in life. In those moments when God seems to be pulling away from us, just out of reach, we have to realize that He is teaching us how to walk towards him.


Neil Harris said...

Amen to that! This is one of those teachings that I tend to forget about...during times that I need to remember it.

Karma Dude said...

When a father teaches his child to walk, he holds on firmly until the child is balanced and has a strong footing, and at that moment, when the child is fully confident, the father lets go, leaving the child to stumble and fall. Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz points out that while the father holds the child, the child is indeed confident, safe, and secure, but he is not walking. Only precisely at the moment that the father "abandons" him does he first begin to really learn to walk.
By the same token however,(my opinion, not Rabbi Tatz) every time the child stumbles and falls, the father must be there to soothe the pain of falling and encourage the child to continue trying. Additionally, the child must eventually taste success. Because with a forever distant father and enough falls on his ass, a child may distract himself with a toy on the floor and not have the heart to get up and try again.