• S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program

  • Peirot Haaretz  

    Lech Lecha

    Yonah Stromer

    Yeshivat Shaarei Mevaseret Zion

     

                When your mother asks you to run an errand, she doesn’t just say “Hey, run me an errand.” Instead, she’ll probably tell you “Could you please run to the store and pick up some eggs?” or “Remember to pick up your brother from basketball practice.” When someone asks you to do something there is always an end goal accompanied by a set of instructions. This idea, while intuitive and obvious, seems to go right out the window at the beginning of this week’s parsha.

                When Hakadosh Baruch Hu tells Avraham lech-lecha there doesn’t seem to be any obvious end goal. If we examine this episode in a vacuum, our first forefather seems to be following the vaguest of marching orders for the most lofty of rewards. We may know that this was the first step in establishing the Jewish nation, but Avraham couldn’t have known that at the time.

    In reality, Avraham’s decision to go along with Hashem’s seemingly ambiguous directives contains within it a fundamental idea in Judaism, as expressed by Rav Noach Weinberg, zt”l, the founding Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah.

                In discussing this question, Rav Weinberg explained that at the core of Avraham’s journey, deeper than creating the foundation for the Jewish people or inheriting Eretz Yisrael or anything else promised to Avraham’s eventual progeny, was simply the quest for a higher Truth, capital T. Again, when reading it in a vacuum, Avraham’s setting off, away from everything he ever knew, for rewards that you can only dream of seems to be a foolhardy endeavor. However, when you recognize that Avraham only wanted capital-T-Truth, the most real emet in his life, you will realize that everything he was promised by Hashem can only be in store for someone in search for that sort of Truth.

                Yet, we are still marked by our question of why Hashem couldn’t tell Avraham a specific place to go or a specific set of things to do all in one go.

    Rav Weinberg explained that any quest for Truth cannot be started with a bias. This is what we learn from Avraham’s course of action; his quest for Truth couldn’t have its ultimate destination outwardly stated because that might have given him tunnel-vision. The same goes for everything in life - you can never accurately determine what decision is best for you if you already decided on a course of action. However, as we learn from Avraham, the one decision that you can safely make is that confidently following the word of Hashem will lead you to an ultimate Truth in life and will, b’ezrat Hashem, help us reap all the promises that were made to our forefathers so long ago. 

     

    Eliyahu Ebrani

    Yeshivat Birkat Moshe

     

                This week's parsha begins with God commanding Avraham to leave his home land and travel to Israel. Immediately and almost out of place we find God blessing Avraham that "I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you will I will curse …". It seems rather strange that God interrupts the narrative to bless Avraham; it almost seems like God needed to provide Avraham with incentive to obey His command. This seems rather strange knowing that Avraham was reputed as the man who went around spreading monotheism and God's word, despite encountering stark opposition. Why all of a sudden does God decide to bless Avraham?

                If we think about it, Avraham was coming from a place where despite being ideologically opposed, he was established. Our rabbis teach that Avraham came to Israel with a group of followers. While in his homeland he may have had a challenge, Avraham was successfully accomplishing his goal to spread monotheism. Now he was coming to a new place, a new situation, and most people would feel somewhat intimidated by the new challenges he was going to face. Avraham now had a new crowd to convince. It seems very natural, then, that God blesses Avraham at this point, because this blessing would reassure Avraham. God tells Avraham: don't worry that you're going to encounter new challenges, because I'm going to bless those who bless you. Just as you are blessed with the truth so too other people are going to learn the truth from you and in turn be blessed. And those who will not agree with you and don't believe in what you have to say - they are cursed, for they don't know the truth. To know the truth is a blessing. To know what is right and to stand up for it is to be blessed. Whenever we stand up for something that we know is correct, we must not be afraid of what other people may think. We must remember that from the time of Avraham the Jewish people have been committed to spreading the truth thoughout the world. Which is precisely what makes us a blessed people. And as for our opposition, the people who refuse to support or believe the truth, we must not let them bring us down, for they are cursed, and we who strand up for the truth, are blessed.

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