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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Noach

Parashat Noach

Terach's Travels

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Careful readers of Sefer Bereishit know that Avraham Avinu s trek to the Land of Canaan did not begin with the Lekh-Lekha command in Chapter 12; rather it was set into motion as a family outing at the end of Parashat Noach. Without any explanation given, the family patriarch, Terach, takes his son, grandson and daughter-in-law on a trip towards Canaan.

In an attempt to explain Terach's travels, the Midrash tells of the trials and tribulations of Terach's family in Ur, beginning with the well-known story of Avram smashing his father's idols and continuing with King Nimrod condemning him to death (see Bereshit Rabba 38). Despite Avram's miraculous escape from the fiery furnace into which he had been cast, Haran's death at the hands of Nimrod was enough to convince Terach that it was time for his family to move on.

The Midrash also relates that after having been commanded to continue towards the unnamed Promised Land, Avram evaluated the merits of each land through which he passed. In Aram Naharaim and Aram Nachor, he saw the people running after pleasures and partying, and immediately prayed that this should not be his land. When he reached Eretz Yisrael, he saw that the people had a healthy work ethic and were busily engaged in agricultural work; he prayed that this should be the land chosen for him (Bereshit Rabba 39).

Even in Avram's day, reasons for Aliya ranged from a desire for a more meaningful and spiritual life to escape from anti-Semitism to a sense of a call from God. After 2000 years of exile we have today yet another reason. Here we are at home.

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This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
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