A Taste of Torah – Parshas Lech Lecha

Written by: Rabbi Avrohom S. Moller

In this week’s parsha, Hashem appears to Avrohom Avinu and tells him to leave his birthplace to go to “the land I shall show you.” Hashem promises him great things, he will father a great nation, be famous and blessed, etc. The Ramban (Nachmonides) is bothered that we don’t get a better introduction to Avrohom. Usually, the Torah tells us more about a great personality and why he/she was beloved by Hashem. In the case of Avrohom, the Torah tells us that he was told to leave his ancestral land for a bright future in Eretz Yisroel without any explanation as to why he was chosen to be Hashem’s messenger to mankind. The Ramban suggests that since Avrohom’s greatness early in his life was his rejection of the idolatry in his birthplace, the Torah doesn’t want to discuss all of the decadence and depravity of that culture. The Torah just focuses on Avrohom’s loyalty and obedience to Hashem.

The Sfas Emes (Rabbi Yehuda Leib Alter, third Rebbe of Gur 1847-1905) gives a very novel answer to this question. He quotes the Zohar that the call of “Lech Lecha – go forth for yourself” was a challenge to all of mankind in every time. It is Hashem’s call to all of us to go and accomplish our mission in life. Avrohom Avinu was the only one in his time who heeded this call, and therefore, it became his personal charge. There is no introduction to Avrohom’s character and history since this is the essence of who he was. He was the one who listened and thought for himself and that is what endeared him to Hashem, earning the title of “Avrohom, My Beloved.”

As children and spiritual heirs to our great ancestor, we need to do as he did. We must go forth and do great things especially in making the world more hospitable to G-dliness. This is our destiny as a people and our duty as children of Avrohom. We declare Hashem’s sovereignty by conducting ourselves by the values and morality of the Torah. We work hard raising our children to perpetuate these ideals for the future of mankind.

When we do this, we can invoke the merit of our Avos, our Patriarchs, who centered their lives on this mission. May we heed the call and succeed in adding to the spirituality and goodness of this world in our lifetime.