Two days ago, we welcomed home 15 Buffalo Moms who had just experienced a life-changing journey in Israel as part of the Momentum program. In their honor, we are pleased to share these words of Torah from Rabbi Ori Bergman of Kehillat Ohr Tzion.
In this week’s Torah portion, Jacob sends his son Josef to go check on his brothers. The Torah then states: “Then a man found him, and behold, he was straying in the field, and the man asked him, saying, ‘What are you looking for?’ And he said, ‘I am looking for my brothers. Tell me now, where are they pasturing?’” (Genesis 37:15-16)
Sivan Rahav Meir states that the words “What are you looking for?” instigate change. Rav Dov Berel Wein, commenting on “Then a man found him,” says that this man that Yosef meets is an angel or designated human being with a message especially meant for Yosef. The question is one that every person can ask himself: “What are you looking for?”
The Kotzker Rebbe would say that these words are meant for us, whatever or wherever we happen to be at this moment: “What are you looking for? What do you want? What is the purpose of your life? What direction have you taken?”
Rav Wein tells a story about someone from his congregation who became religiously observant and how it happened. He was traveling one night to a concert with a friend when the police stopped their car and blocked the street. The driver became upset, honked, and a police officer approached him and explained: Tonight is Yom Kippur and we are blocking the street because Jews in this neighborhood are going to the Kol Nidrei prayer. We’ll open the street shortly. The driver was in shock because he had no idea it was Yom Kippur, and this incident changed his life. This was a moment of “What are you looking for” and “Who are you.”
Rav Wein summarizes as follows: We need to notice the messages that are woven into the path we take through life. There are angels and messengers in human form and our job is to notice them and take heed of their messages.
Rabbi Ori Bergman is the Spiritual Leader at Kehillat Ohr Tzion in Williamsville, NY.