Parashat Lech-Lecha - Faith Against the Current

Unlike the previous two Parshiot that dealt with the world on a large scale, our Parsha now begins to deal with the jewish world on an individual level, beginning with Avraham Avinu, the father of our nation, through his sons, and to the establishment of the entire People of Israel. Avraham Avinu, then still known as Avram, was the only one of his generation who believed in the Creator of the world. About 10 generations after the flood that swept through the world, and about 200 years after humanity's great rebellion against hashem through the Tower of Babylon, Avram arrives and begins investigating the world. He reasons that if there are beings that where created, then there must be a creator. Through his quest for the truth, he found God, the creator of the world. He did this without any support from anybody around him. Apart from not having any support, he was actively persecuted by those around him for his newfound faith. He was driven from his house and was even almost executed in a fiery furnace by Nimrod, the ruler at the time. By a miracle he was saved, and continued on his path in spreading faith among all people. Our story begins with a commandment from God. God tells Avraham, ““Go forth from your native land” leave your family, everything you have, and everything you know in Haran, and go “to the land that I will show you.” Without question, Avraham took his wife, his nephew Lot, all his belongings, “and the souls that they had made in Haran” and set forth towards the land of Canaan. We know Abraham and Sarah didn't have children until they were 100, so who are the “the souls that they had made in Haran”? Rashi brings a Midrash that says שהכניסום תחת כנפי השכינה... ומעלה עליהם הכתוב כאילו עשאום. Even in Haran, it was Avraham’s practice to introduce people to belief in the creator, in spite of the fact that they were idol worshipers. Avraham Avinu could have just as easily locked himself in his house with his beliefs and his knowledge of the creator of the world, away from any type of danger. But no, he went out into the world to spread his faith to everybody, even when the world around him didn’t like it. He understood that if there was a Creator for the world, then of course there was also purpose for the world. God didn’t create the world just like that, and if this is so, then he had a duty to go out and loudly proclaim that there is a creator and there is a purpose to creation. I must go out and say it in a big voice, that everyone will know that there is a Creator and that there is a purpose to creation. Avraham Avinu, the man of grace, comes to teach us how much we must persevere and to bring anybody we can closer to God, even when it is hard and those around speak against it. This, too, is included in the attribute of grace, that by helping a person come closer to faith, and the understanding of the purpose of creation, we do with him and with yourself a great kindness.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Aviram Biton


©2020 by Rabbi Biton - The Jewish Experience CT

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