Getting Out of His Way

by Yaakov from GYE (See all authors)

We all know the story of Yaakov and the shepherds from Parshas Vayetze. Did you ever wonder how Yaakov Avinu single handedly removed such a large rock from on top of the well? If he was an “Ish Tam Yoshev Ohalim” how did he have this kind of super-human strength?

To answer this, perhaps an introduction is in order. Hakadosh Baruch Hu has a plan for each and every one of us. Ultimately, this plan is for our own good and the reward will be immense, but as far as we need to be concerned, the plan is not about us per-se. It’s about how Hashem wants to use us in His world in some way for Tikkun Ha’olam. Before we were born, Hashem already had a precise plan of how He wanted each of us to serve in this effect, and where exactly we fit in to fix/help His world to come closer to perfection.

So in essence, Hashem needs each and every one of us Kaviyachol. He wants to work through us to do something special in His world. But the problem is, we keep getting in His way. We’re more concerned with ourselves and our petty needs than His plan for us, and time and time again our character defects and desires don’t let Hashem use us for what He has planned.

It follows from the above, that the “name of the game” is really about staying out of G-d’s way. If we change our perspective and begin to understand the immense honor that we were given to be of use to the great and Almighty G-d, then it can become a lot easier for us to overcome our desires and work on our character defects…. How so?

Let’s take shmiras einayim for example. Most of us struggle with this for years with ups and downs. Why is it so difficult? Perhaps it is because we are used to seeing our lives as being about “us”. As much as we believe that it would be in our best interest to guard our eyes, when it comes down to the heat of the moment, the spiritual benefits are abstract and the physical and immediate gratification is instant. So it is very hard to overcome these desires through Emunah alone.

However, if we begin to understand and internalize that Hashem needs us for a greater purpose that He has planned, and by looking at what I shouldn’t I am actively pushing G-d away and not ALLOWING Him to use me for what He wants to do with me in His world, then it can become easier to overcome.

Let's try to explain it a little better. If it’s just about me, it’s very hard to see how turning AWAY from desire is better for ME right now. It takes a lot of Emunah and strength to do this. However, if I internalize that G-d needs me for His great plan and by looking at things I shouldn’t I am actively pushing him out of my life and not allowing Him to use me to help/fix His world, then for the sake of this great honor I feel of being of service to G-d – I can much more easily “surrender” the desires. I will just let it go it and pray, “G-d, Help me be yours so I can fulfill the plan you have for me and be of service to You… Help me not to get in your way of using me for your honor because of my petty desires”.

When we develop that kind of attitude, then it becomes easier because it’s no longer about us. It's no longer a matter of weighing the abstract long-term benefits against the immediate gratification. Instead, we allow ourselves to become a vessel for G-d Himself to use for His great plans in the world, and He begins to take control of our lives. We can suddenly begin to accomplish things we never dreamed we could. We become a מרכבה לשכינה– a Chariot for the King.

Perhaps this is how our holy Forefathers like Avraham Avinu and Yaakov Avinu were able to do super-human feats, like win over the four kings and a push huge rocks off the well. They had completely surrendered their inner-selves to Hashem and didn’t get in His way in the slightest bit. And because Hashem had big plans for them, He worked through them and they were able to do far more than is normally humanly possible. It wasn’t them acting in their lives anymore, it was G-d.

We can all accomplish super-human feats if we stay out of Hashem's way and allow Him to work through us. קוי ה' יחליפו כח.


Rabbi Abraham Twerski responds to this article:

Dear Reb Yakov,

My lawyer was a recovering cocaine addict. He said, "I never could have done this. G-d did it. I just got out of his way."

Incidentally, your article made me look up old records. In 2011 I started a book entitled "I've Gotta Get Out of My Way." I'm going to try to finish it.