Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Lech Lecha

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

"And G-d said to Abraham, 'go out from your land, from your place of birth and the house of your fathers, to the land which I will show you.'" [12:1]

G-d does not describe the land -- he does not even tell Avraham where he is going. He merely says "go out" -- leave, further instructions to follow.

Rashi [Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki] says that HaShem did not immediately reveal the location in order to increase Avraham's desire for it, and "to reward him for every word [spoken about it]."

The Modzhitzer Rebbe, Rav S.Y. Taub, asks what further reward would come "for every word." After all, what greater reward is there, once G-d has spoken directly with Avraham about his move?

To answer this question, we must consider how a person or family normally undertakes a move. When you find out that a neighbor is moving, what is your first question? "Where are you going? To where are you moving?" It's obvious! Everyone asks that question, and of course anyone who is moving already knows the answer. They already have a new lease, or a down payment on the new house, and by the time the moving van pulls up, they've probably redone half the interior of their new home as well.

This, of course, was not true many centuries ago. One did not ordinarily go find a home before moving when journeys of several hundred miles were not simple day trips. But even so -- actually, even more so -- a person moved with a clear reason for leaving, a carefully selected destination, and a reason for going there.

Avraham's journey was different. HaShem told him "go out from your land," and did not reveal the destination to him.

When people saw Avraham packing, everyone asked: "where are you going? Why? What do you intend to do there?"

And Avraham -- had no response. He had no answer! He himself did not know the reason he was leaving, did not know where he was going, and did not know why he was going there. And he had to admit as much to them.

Would you have accepted that answer? The Rebbe assures us that Avraham's contemporaries didn't accept this, either. "Can it be that a person heads off on a long journey, and does not know his destination, and does not even know why he is traveling?"

So Avraham was forced to provide more detail, to explain to them that he was Commanded by HaShem: "go out!" And he believed with complete faith that he would find a new place to settle, wherever G-d told him.

The fact that Avraham did not know his destination caused him additional discomfort, and forced him to speak with other people about his travels -- far more than would otherwise have been necessary. Says the Rebbe: of course he should have been rewarded, for every word!

The more visible one is as a Jew, the more likely one is to be asked questions by others: what is this? What are you doing? Why do you do this?

Those questions can be embarrassing. People don't want to look different, to act strange. So however well-meaning the questioner, we can be embarrassed to answer someone's curiosity.

Why do we endure it? Because we're observing G-d's Commandments! If so -- of course we should be rewarded, for every word!

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Yaakov Menken



View Complete List

The Real Story
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Take 'Car'e of Yourself
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Yesod HaOlam
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

That's Chanukah
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

In Command
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765

Joseph and His Dreams
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

> When Transparency Counts
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Exact Measurements of Punishment
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Waning or Waxing
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Special Privileges Bring Special Responsibilities
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Growing Forever
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Into the Hands of the Few
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763


The Triumph of Quality Over Quantity
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

"Stand Tall!"
Shlomo Katz - 5770

Sensitive "To a Tea"
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Facing the Challenge
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information