Parashat Lech Lecha לֶךְ-לְךָ

In this Parasha we are being introduced to Avram’s (Avraham) greatness and unshakeable faith and belief in HaShem even before the official receiving of the Torah. HaShem asked Avram to leave his father’s house, his father Terach’s (“תרח“) bad ways, and his birth place.

Essentially HaShem asked Avram to abandon his way of life and all that he grew up with. It is worth mentioning here that his mother’s name was Emetlai (“אמתלאי“), and unlike his father, she was a righteous woman. The words “Lech Lecha” (“לֶךְ-לְךָ” – go and leave for you) came to teach us about the double use of the same word along with their divine purpose. Each word alludes to a precise and specific purpose. The first “Lech” (“לֶךְ”) means go at once because of my commandment and the second “Lecha” (“לְךָ”) means leave for your own benefit (50/50).

The Midrash says that HaShem revealed to Avram that his father and brothers conspired to kill him, since he did not follow their religion. This is the first time HaShem was speaking to Avram, at the age of seventy-five (face to face), although there is a Midrash that says that HaShem first revealed himself to Avram when he was three years old. As a three-year old Avram immediately understood the Divine greatness of HaShem. By the age of thirteen Avram was tested twice through the evil King Nimrod.

Rabbi Yosefi says that while HaShem asked Avram to leave all, he also “showed” him future sights. We learn that from the word “Arekha” (“אַרְאֶךָּ” – I will show you) in the first verse. The numerical value of the word “Arekha” is 222, same as the word “Ba’ananim” (clouds), as HaShem showed Avram the future “Clouds of Glory” who will lead Beni-Yisrael in the desert.  HaShem allowed Avram to see with his own eyes the Divine protection of the “Clouds of Glory” throughout his offspring future. The Zohar teaches us that when HaShem said to Avram “leave all that you knew and go to the ‘land that I will show you’ (“לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ”), HaShem took him through all the countries and introduced him to their Angels. HaShem showed Avram that the entire world is protected by Angels, but the Holy Land is protected only by Him. Later on in Parashat “Beshalach” we will see that, when Moshe was fighting the Amalekites, he “raised” his hands to “fight” their Angel from above.

Our Parasha begins with a test, a command which somehow seems a bit peculiar. We know that in the last Parasha (verse 11:31) Avraham and his family (including his father) were already heading to Israel. The question is what is the point of this test, as they were already on their way somewhere? Avraham was on his way to Israel, stopping at Charan for twenty-two years, as his father passes away at the age of two hundred and five. In order to understand the true hidden purpose of such a command we must have a clear picture of the entire family of sinners Avram was surrounded by.

Avram was destined to promote HaShem ways and contest Nimrod belief in idolatry. From day one he was chased by Nimrod. Our Sages explain that upon his birth, Nimrod’s sorceress noticed four stars in the skies alluding to a great Neshamah (soul) that arrived to the world. Nimrod summoned Terach (Avram father) to inquire about his new son, Terach denied of such “idea” and hid Avram in a cave.

Avram was provided with all by HaShem for three years, the Midrash says that oil, wheat and water was given to Avram on a daily basis by two angels.

When Avram left the cave he first prayed for the Sun and then for the Moon, but after seeing that they showed up every day he realized that there must be a creator in charge of them. Only then Avram begins praying to HaShem. Rabbi Shimon Bar Youchi explain that HaShem sent two Angels to teach Avram all in the Cave.

The name אַבְרָם Avram in hebrew has two words in it, Av (father) and Ram (elevated). Referring to the Jewish Nation (Am) and people who will be his decedents elevated by their father HaShem.

We need to understand the profound teachings of this Parasha as it sets the tone for generations to come, while speaking of each person/nation and their way of life and behavior. Their traits, their qualities and lack of qualities will be revealed here.

We know that Avram was asked to leave everything and go somewhere; a place HaShem will show him. At this point in time Avram is seventy-five years old, very wealthy and powerful as he had all that a man could wish for, except for children.

He had large amount of land, homes, servants, and an old father name Terach who was an idol-worshiper. Avram was revered and well known to all the world nations as he survived King Nimrod’s attempts to kill him. Avram walked (forcefully by Nimrod) into a burning furnace but HaShem made a miracle and he was not harmed.

HaShem asked him to leave everything behind with the condition that the final destination shall remain a secret. The reason for such a condition was designed to keep Avram’s father, and hundreds of other people who left already, out of the loop. His father was one-hundred and forty-five years old and HaShem had no desire to have him around Avram and his family, especially not in the holy land.

Avram loved HaShem and was firm in his belief in the ways of HaShem and his laws. He was a great host and provider, as his tent and home was open to all guests at any time. He helped his nephew Lot through thick and thin; he loved and cherished his wife Sarai (“שרי”), and helped every person who needed help. He was willing do all that HaShem ordered him, regardless of its harsh and unknown outcome. By being under Avram’s care and influence Lot got the trait of hospitality from Avram. We see that the Arabs today, who came from Lot, usually host a guest even if he was hated by them, but the moment he leaves they might hurt him. This trait was also learned from Lot who was ungrateful for all that Avram did for him, when he was asked to divide the land after their shepherds fought. Lot ignored all that Avram did for him throughout his life; he took the greener pastures, instead of offering it to Avram who saved his life going to war against the five kings who captured Lot. This trait of ungratefulness is demonstrated today by the Arabs as Israel provides them with all their needs (better than their own people, the so-called Arab brothers) and in return they fight and bomb Israel.

All the Jewish traits came from Avraham as we learn about him and his actions in the Torah. Avraham provided humane and moral qualities to the Jewish people (his descendants). Avraham taught us how to:

  1. Believe in HaShem
  2. Righteousness
  3. Welcome peace
  4. Be Hospitable
  5. Perform Good deeds to strangers
  6. Do Chesed and Tzedakah
  7. Not leaving a friend (and soldiers) behind in war
  8. VIII. Fighting a just war
  9. Brit Milah
Avram saved Lot his nephew since from him will come Ruth the Moabite and from her… King David, King Solomon and ultimately the Mashiach!

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