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Then Their Eyes Met

Friday, 13 August, 2021 - 6:32 am

Relationships are the essence of life, and meaningful connections – soul bonds – are the essence of important relationships. Relationships come in various shapes and sizes, but the genuinely substantive ones all share a core element: Safety. You feel a sense of security – the deep psychological and emotional peace in knowing that you can share your hidden warts and pimples – because the person accepts you with all your flaws.

You can relax, let down your guard and be vulnerable.

Even in a loving, safe relationship, it can be difficult to share one’s deepest turmoil. But, when the other person’s words, body language and eyes telegraph: “I’m here for you and I want to hear WHATEVER is in your heart,” you know it’s safe to open up.

 A relationship with G-d follows the same model.  It isn’t always easy to unburden oneself. Sometimes it's difficult to feel close and secure. Maybe we’re self-conscious about our moral standing, and not feeling confident that if we raise our eyes to meet G-d's, we’ll be met with an understanding and loving gaze.

That’s why this Jewish calendar month, the month of Elul, is so crucial.

Elul prepares us for the High Holidays, a period of emotional intensity and an opportunity to deepen our relationships with ourselves, each other and the Divine, by providing us with a period of preparation so that we can experience that intensity with a sense of safety.

Chassidic thought describes Elul with the depiction of a period when a loving king leaves his chamber’s glamour, entering the field so that he might meet his subjects on their own turf.

Why would he do that? Because he wants his subjects to feel safe in their relationship with him. He wants them to feel his desire for a connection with them, as they are – in dirty overalls, working the fields. He wants them to know that he’s ready for their eyes to meet his.  

Because when they do meet the King’s eyes, they’ll get the message they need: We – you and I - have a relationship. In order to strengthen that relationship, we – you and I - need to acknowledge its weaknesses; and that’s okay, because we’re in a safe relationship.

Elul is a G-d-given opportunity to pull your gaze from life’s distractions, so that you can meet G-d’s eyes. He’s definitely looking your way.

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