Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
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


 

ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Call of the Shofar
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

A Nice Disguise
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

The War in Your Living Room
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

ArtScroll

Month of Elul: The Power of Repentance
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

The Focus of Rosh HaShana
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Guardian of the Mouth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Doing A Mitzvah With Regard for Another's Feelings
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

We're Not There Yet
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

When It Measures Up
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

> Zero Tolerance
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5763

The Epitome of G-d's Kindness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

The Bond that Ties - Prayer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Happy New Yira
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Yefas Toar: The Exception Proves The Rule
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

The Blessings We All Hope For
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Sound of the Unheard Shofar
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information