Yeshiva.org.il - The Torah World Gateway
Beit Midrash Bet Midrash Lech Lecha

FOLLOW THE LEADER, PLEASE

Rabbi Stewart Weiss Cheshvan 9 5777
82
Click to dedicate this lesson
"And Hashem said to Avraham: ‘Leave your land, birthplace & home…and go to the Land that I will show you."

More than one commentator has pondered over why G-d chose to use the rather oblique phrase, "the Land that I will show you,"
rather than telling Avraham directly that He was commanding him to go to Israel. Some pundits chuckle that Hashem did not want to scare Avraham by telling him that he was headed to Israel, preferring that he first get there & only then find out that he had made Aliya!

But I have a very different take on it: I suggest that it was davka because Israel is such a rich, beautiful & inspiring place that G-d withheld the fact that this was his ultimate destination! For you see, had Avraham known that he was headed to the Holy Land – which, due to his prophetic vision, he knew would be the ideal place for Jews to live – he might have gone there for THAT reason, rather than out of sheer
obedience to the Divine command. And Heaven more greatly rewards those who act purely in consonance with G-d’s will, rather than those who act of their own volition.

This is why the dictate to depart Charan for Israel is considered the first of Avraham’s 10 Tests, even though he had other terrifying ordeals prior to Lech-Lecha. He had to live underground for 13 years to escape the wrath of King Nimrod, & he was later thrown into a fiery furnace,
both of which occurred because of his determination to educate the public about the uselessness & fallacy of idolatry.

But those first two trials were a result of Avraham’s own convictions, his own rational realization that this world is presided over by One, comprehensive power and not many individual forces. And while Avraham's beliefs & acts were noteworthy & true, they came via his own conclusions & lacked the "signature" of the Almighty. And so they did not "make the cut;" they did not qualify as part of the immortal Ten Tests.

As the Gemara states: "Greater is the one who is commanded & acts, rather than one who acts without being commanded." True faith is tested, & strengthened, when we react instantly & instinctively to Hashem’s voice.

On the day that we arrived in Israel, we received some very solid advice from friends who had themselves made Aliya some years before us. "Israel is the most marvelous place on Earth," they told us, "but it also has the severest challenges. At times you will love this place, at other times you may fear, or even resent it. But always remember: You are here because you are doing a Mitzva; that is the bottom line, and that is the lifeline to hold on to at all times."

Good friends, great advice.
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
More on this Topic Lech Lecha
Ask a Question

It is not possible to send messages to the Rabbis through replies system.

את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il