|Noam Elimelech: Going Out of Ourselves: Perfecting our Character Traits|
Parshas Lech Lecha: (2nd piece) “Lech Lecha MeArtzecha, umi-Moladetecha, umi-Beis Avicha el Haaertz asher areka – Go out from your land, from your birthplace and your father’s house to the land which I will show you.” This verse
hints that a person should always search, investigate and explore the world to see and experience the wonders of the Almighty through everything he sees.
Hashem created us with many different traits and qualities. Every trait has both a good, holy side and a negative evil side to it.
For example it is taught in the name of Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev that even though the trait of heresy and apikorsus is evil there is a positive way to use it. When you see poor people you might say to yourself I am a man of faith, I believe in Hashem. Surely Hashem will tend to this poor man and feed and clothe him. This is the opportune moment to use the trait of apikorsus and say If I wont give charity and Tzedaka to this poor man then he will starve and who will take care of him? Do not rely on your belief in Hashem and help the man yourself. This is a positive way to use and transform bad traits into good. (See Divrei Yisachar Parshas Ki Sisa)
This is the meaning of the words Lech Lecha as taught by the commentator Rashi “go for yourself , for your own benefit.” You should constantly introspect and examine yourself to aid you in detaching yourself from base worldy character traits called artzios implied by the word Artzecha. In other words go out of yourself from your lowly bad traits and repair them. * Bring these traits back to holiness.
“From your birthplace” – If you behave in a deplorable manner using only your poor qualities your offspring can only reflect this. This is because one bad trait generates and gives birth to others. This is illustrated by the teaching in Avos that sin drags and tows with it more sin. So too your inclination will influence their future actions. * This then is the meaning behind “From your birthplace and from your father’s house.” Certain traits are intrinsically part of you, they were inherited from birth, from your parents and they are part of your nature. * Nonetheless you must go out from them and bring them to a state of holiness, “from the house of your father- to the land which I will show you.” This refers to the higher worlds, that you shall merit seeing and understanding even though you have never experienced them before. *
Therefore raise and uplift your negative traits. Once you have discovered them transform them into good actions. Translate your nature into something holy in the service of your creator. This will open your eyes and help you see the G-dliness in the world around you, just as you can discover Hashem in your bad traits and use them for good, so too can you discover Hashem hidden in nature of this world, speaking and calling out to you to serve him.
This is the meaning of the verse “Gol al Hashem Darkecha.” Gol has the same root as the word Hitgalut- revelation, meaning reveal your ways and character, examine them and see that they should serve Hashem. “and Trust in Him”, once you experience the loftiness of G-d this is called trust. You will see Hashem’s hand in this world and therefore trust in Him that everything is happening for the best. And He shall do for you and create for you experiences which you have never previously seen or encountered. * And He will shine the light of your righteousness. * Understand this.