Parsha Chayei Sarah: Bereshith/Genesis 23:1 - 25:18
How many times has someone told you how busy they were? How many times have you said how busy you are?
Everyone’s busy these days. There’s so much to do, so much to get done, so much needing our attention.
It’s easy to get caught up in all that we have to do and lose our focus. It’s easy to get our priorities mixed up in the middle of all the responsibilities that we have to juggle.
In this week’s parsha (Chayei Sarah), our forefather Yitshaq (Isaac) gives us the perfect example of what we should do to stay focused in our daily life.
Bereshith/Genesis 24:63 "And Yitshaq went out to meditate in the field in the evening. And he lifted his eyes..."
What did Yitshaq do?
First, he “went out.” He took a break from whatever he was doing and left. He didn’t stay in his usual surroundings, he left and went somewhere else.
Where? He went out into the field. The field is like the countryside. It’s a place that’s wide open with nothing obstructing your view of Heaven. A place that’s quiet and peaceful. Yitshaq went out - away from the hustle and bustle, away from the busyness, away from all the distractions - to a quiet place where he could see Above.
When did Yitshaq go out? In the evening. The Hebrew actually indicates as it turned toward evening. So, it was probably late afternoon as the evening approached, as the day gradually turned from day to night (but before nightfall).
What did he do in the field? He lifted his eyes. When he lifted his eyes, he connected with the One Above. He prayed to YAHUAH.
He also meditated. Meditate means to think deeply, to be pensive. Yitshaq not only prayed in the field, but he also took the time to just think.
Putting it into Practice
When something is recorded in the Torah, it’s a lesson for us. So, late in the afternoon, we need to do exactly what Yitshaq did.
First, we need to take a break and go out. Yes, when you’re busy. Yes, when you still have so much to do before the day’s end. Yes, when you’re probably someplace that isn’t too conducive to set-apartness. This is precisely when we should stop and go someplace to pray.
In the morning and at night, it’s easy (or at least easier) to stop and pray. The day either hasn’t started yet, or the day’s activities are over. Our to-do list either hasn’t been made yet, or it’s all checked off.
The distractions in the morning and at night are much less. We’re either winding up or winding down but not in the middle of all the action. We’re most likely at home, instead of at work or out and about. Morning and night prayers are just a little easier to do.
But for the afternoon prayer, we have to stop right in the midst of it all - in the middle of our busyness, in the middle of our to-do list, when we’re at work or busy with the kids. At the time of day when it’s the hardest to take a break, that’s exactly what YAH wants us to do.
Then, we have to go out to our ‘field.’ We have to step away from whatever we’re doing, wherever we are and go find a quiet place where we can see Heaven above. In other words, find a place where you can focus on YAH. This could be an empty office, your car, a park bench - any place that’s quiet and away from whatever you’re currently busy doing.
Then, we lift up our eyes to YAH. This is how we return to our primary focus in life. This is what keeps us from getting caught up in everything else going on around us and mixing up our priorities.
We have to remember why we’re here. We’re not here on this earth just to be busy. We’re not here just to work, to pay bills, to run errands, to be entertained, or to just find the next thing to do. We’re here to have a relationship with YAHUAH.
So, in the middle of ‘life,’ stop and lift your eyes. Take a break from all the things that consume your energy and attention, and refocus on what’s really important. Refocus on your actual purpose in life, why you were placed here.
Lift your eyes, and talk to YAHUAH. 'Work' on your relationship with your Father and Creator.
Give YAH thanks and praise, and ask Him for whatever help you - or somebody else - needs.
Then, after we’ve finished praying, we meditate. We don't just jump up and run back to whatever we were doing. Take a few moments to just sit...and think.
These quiet moments after prayer are very important. It is in these moments that YAH speaks to us. He’ll give us understanding on things that are puzzling us, solutions to our problems, answers to our questions, and clarity and guidance in our confusion. Those thoughts that 'pop' into our head and just seem to suddenly make everything right - that’s His voice speaking to our soul. Take the time to listen.
The adversary's #1 tactic is to keep us busy and distracted.
Why? Because it keeps us from connecting to our Creator.
Without connecting to YAH, we can’t fulfill our purpose, which is to have a relationship with Him, and without connecting to YAH, we can’t hear from Him, which keeps us from receiving the help we need.
YAHUAH gave us the afternoon prayer to combat the adversary’s weapon, to make us stop and connect to our Creator. It’s probably the hardest prayer to put into practice, but our forefather Yitshaq set the example for us, for the set-apart nation of Yisrael.
He taught us exactly what we need to do:
Stop in the middle of your day,
go out to a quiet place,
lift your eyes to Heaven,
This will help us to stay focused in a busy, distracting world.