What really motivates you? Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you work so hard? Why do you go out of your way to help others?
It is critical that we understand our true motives. Or in the modern parlance, our “why”. Once we are clear about our “why”, only then are we in a position to know “what” we want to achieve and “how” we go about achieving it.
Any journey into the unknown whilst sounding romantic can also be frightening. Especially when the challenge at hand is getting to know yourself. We have constantly been told by our parents and the friends we choose, how good we are. We accept their flattering appraisal because it is very convenient. It is therefore exceedingly difficult to open ourselves to a fresh perspective which might upset our rhythm.
This weeks Torah portion opens with a similar challenge. G-d says to Moses “Come to Pharaoh”. This implies that G-d is telling Moses that I will accompany you on this mission. The commentaries ask, it should have said “Go to Pharaoh”. Surly our great leader Moses can go on his own?
The Zohar explains that in fact the significance of this trip was for Moses to enter the darkest chamber that exits in mankind which was personified by Pharaoh. As Pharaoh proclaims regarding the River Nile: “My Nile is my own; I made it for myself”(Ezekiel 29:3).
Pharoh is the quintessential egocentric. He thinks only of himself without regard to others. He does not
any outside force as a contributing factor to his position. He considers himself to be “self made”.
Moses is invited by G-d to embark on a psychoanalytical journey. He is challenged to enter the world of the subconscious to discover mankind’s true motives. Is man essentially a selfish creature. Or is there a deeper reality. Does man have the ability to be genuinely altruistic?
Moses is afraid to dig that deep because he knows that in the human being there is a fine line between the “I” of Pharaoh and the “I” of G-d. The “I” of man, as it is severed from its G-dly source is selfish and destructive. However the “I” that is subservient to its source allows the divine energy to flow throughout one’s entire being.
History is filled with people who believed that they had pure motives but were in fact incredibly selfish. They perceived themselves to be dedicated to a cause but were in fact self indulgent.
It is vital therefore to constantly evaluate our true motives. To train ourselves to be more introspective on a regular basis. To try and examine our behavior at the end of each day. To take that ultimate adventure into the unknown. To get to know ourselves a little better.