This Shabbat is the yahrzeit of my mom (Frida Levona bat Shalom), it doesn’t seem real that a year has passed. These dvar Torahs and this sefer (Light of Infinite) is an attempt for a neshamat aliyah for her and for my kids’ bubby (Yehudis Chava bat Yakov Dov) whose yartzeit, in April, marked the first time I attempted to write one of these dvars.

In this week’s Parashah, we learn on Avraham’s journey toward Israel that he finds himself in a famine and is forced to go down to Egypt, as it’s written, “And there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt.” 

This seems like an odd turn of events, after he is tasked with the journey and given blessings of greatness. But we see in Avraham’s journeys, the history of B’nei Yisrael was rehearsed and actualized: just as he went down to Egypt, we did the same through the Egyptian Exile, but also just as Avraham went up out of Egypt, we too were brought to Israel, to redemption, and just as Avraham left, “weighed down with cattle, silver and gold,” we did the same, leaving Egypt, “with greater wealth.” And so the descent to Egypt was for its departure, which was “weighed down with cattle, silver and gold,” a phrase that was used for Avraham and all of Israel’s ascent, transforming the most secular to the most high in service of Hashem through sacrifices in the Beit Hamikdash. So we see that Avraham’s descent to Egypt wasn’t counter to his ascent to Israel, to Jerusalem, to the Promised Land; it was integral, because out of  darkness, comes the greatest light. As my brother, Matisyahu, sings on his single, “Jerusalem (Out of Darkness Comes Light)”;

Ain’t no one gonna break my stride
Ain’t no one gonna pull me down
Oh, no, I got to keep on moving
Stay alive

Jerusalem, if I forget you
Fire not gonna come from me tongue
Jerusalem, if I forget you
Let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do

So it is with us, with all that seem like unending descents, hardships and ways to break our stride, we can’t let it pull us down, we have to keep moving, keeping our soul’s essence and the ultimate purpose of spiritualizing reality until our own redemption, both prati  and klali become actualized into the final redemption.And so each of us is tasked with not only upholding the covenant of Avraham, but of doing right with all the blessings that come from it – going inward to elevate ourselves to the most high, and spiritualizing reality which inspires all those around us to do the same.