Parshas Lech Lecha
Defying Natural Order
In this week's Torah portion we find the moving exchange between Avraham and
Hashem, in which Hashem promises to secure the Land of Israel for Avrahams
future descendants. To this promise, Avraham responds, 'But I have no
children that will perpetuate my values and spread them to the world at
large' 'Whatever you give me is insignificant if the dreams that are closest
to my heart remain unrealized'!.
Hashem directs Avraham to step outside, gaze up at the stars and count them.
"So shall be your seed!" he promises. 'Your children will fill the world
like the stars'.
It certainly paints a fascinating scenario. But why did Hashem require
Avraham to first count the stars? What was the purpose of this exercise in
futility? And are we truly as many as the stars. Are we not told by Hashem
that we will always remain the smallest of the nations?
A scintilating insight is presented by the saintly Imrei Emes that addresses
this very point. Hashem told Avraham to go out and count the stars and he
immediately obeyed. Have you ever tried to counting stars? Before very long
it becomes a frustrating and nigh impossible task. One soon forgets which
ones were already counted and which ones remain to be calculated. Yet
Avraham persisted in fulfilling Hashem's command. He continued to count
until Hashem said "Enough"!
, "So shall be your seed." said Hashem. Your children too will assume
seemingly impossible tasks to fulfill my slightest whim. They will scale
mountains and traverse oceans in their quest for the truth. They will
tenaciously abide by my Torah's teachings in the face of impossible
challenge. They will remain locked in a transcendent bond with their Creator
even under the most trying circumstances. Neither tantalizing material
delights nor the dazzle and shine of humanistic and enlightened philosophies
will seduce them.
Hashem was not simply comparing Avraham's descendants to the stars. He was
promising him that his act of counting the stars--a seemingly futile task
simply would be an indelibly etched into the genetic makeup of his progeny.
In the darkest hours of our history, confronted with barbaric persecutions
and seemingly insurmountable difficulties, the Jewish people tenaciously
clung to the Torah's teachings, defying the natural order. This ability to
exist on a sublime and transcendent plane is a spiritual force we inherited
from Avraham, and it sprung from Hashem's promise to him that this force
would be forever implanted in his descendants. When we are cognizant of
these sublime powerful energies that are embedded in our genes we too can
emulate our Avos Hakedoshim and realize our life's potential to its fullest
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbas
Rabbi Naftali Reich
Text Copyright © 2013 by Rabbi Naftali Reich and Torah.org.
Rabbi Reich is on the faculty of the Ohr Somayach Tanenbaum Education Center.