October 25, 2012
Lech Lecha: The Inner Will of the Universe
Abraham, the Sages noted, was the first person in history to address God as his ‘Master’ (Gen. 15:8). Why makes this so noteworthy?
Completing the Master’s Work
We must first understand the essence of the servant-master relationship. The servant fulfills the wishes of his master by completing the master’s work. The servant is an extension of his master, his shaliach or agent. When the servant acts, it is as if the master acted.
Before Abraham, people acknowledged the existence of a Prime Mover, an infinite Being Who created the universe. But they could not fathom how a truly perfect Being would be concerned with an imperfect and lowly world such as ours. Why would God, transcendent beyond all things, be involved in the smallest details of the workings of the universe?
They failed to recognize that an integral aspect of creation — its inner core — was that the universe aspires to perfect itself. This underlying aspiration for perfection means that there is Divine Providence in all moral paths in the world, even the smallest and least significant.
The central conduit for the universe’s perfection is the elevation of humanity in deed, traits, and thought. We have free will to choose good or evil. And that which leads us to choose good is the Creator’s will in creation, the universe’s inner aspiration to perfection.
By declaring God as his Master, Abraham publicly proclaimed that God governs the world and desires its moral perfection. God wills that we should be His agents in bringing about the world’s gradual progress. As we work toward our own spiritual growth, we advance the work of our Master — the universe’s spiritual elevation.
(Adapted from Ein Eyah vol. I, p. 33 on Berachot 7b )