Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Rabbis-Notebook
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Lech Lecha

By Rabbi Aron Tendler

The Dawn Of A New Era - Avraham and Sarah Have Arrived!

The year 1948 after creation saw the dawning of a new age in the life of the universe. Amidst the overwhelming moral decadence, affluence, and paganism of Ur Casdim, a singular force was born into the family of Terach that would alter human destiny for all time. Never again would the knowledge of a single G-d, who cares enough to reward and to punish, be absent from the structure of society. By the sheer force of his love and conviction, Avraham the son of Terach, along with his wife Sarah, brought G-d into the world. The 175 years of his life would be the greatest blessing ever bestowed upon "the families of the earth".

The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of our Fathers 5:3) states, "There were ten generations from Noach...until Avraham Avinu came along and received the reward of them all". And within the message of this short Mishnah lies the the essence of our mission as the "Chosen People"; why we, the great grandchildren of Avraham and Sarah, were selected to be the Chosen People; and what the true meaning of Bracha (blessing) is.

As Avraham left his homeland of Ur Casdim in 2023, at the age of 75, along with his 65-year-old wife Sarah, Hashem promised that "all the families of the earth would be blessed through him and his children". While blessing includes material success or other worldly pleasures, the greatest possible "blessing" is the realization of one's potential. Thus, the universe, created by the "word of G-d", is the setting wherein which humankind can achieve their potential for recognizing and relating to the Creator.

At first, Hashem placed humankind in a "Garden", where His presence was revealed in the magnificent perfection of nature. Every conceivable human need was provided for, so that humankind could spend their substantial time realizing His manifest presence in nature, and understanding the responsibilities that accompany that knowledge.

The total destruction of "all living things" during the Mabul heralded a change in the structure of our relationship with the Creator. From then on, our time would be limited to 120 years, and each of us would be responsible for sharing our knowledge of the Creator with each other and our children. The natural world alone is insufficient as the means for understanding the essence of our purpose in having been created. We now need teachers who, through their instruction, will show us the hidden, yet revealed, presence of the Almighty.

In the 10 generations that followed the Mabul, a handful of individuals came to recognize the presence of the Creator. Men like Shem the son of Noach, along with his great grandson Ayver, opened a "Yeshiva", a Bait Medresh, a place of study, in a location that would one day be called Yerushalayim. There, the few truth seekers could find understanding and fulfillment. They didn't advertise or proselytize, they didn't offer outreach or adult education, they simply waited for the infrequent seeker of truth to come knocking on their door.

Avraham was different. Once he realized that there must be a Creator, he too sought out this haven of truth to further his understanding. The essence of his studies translated into the obligation to emulate the Creator by doing acts of Chesed - kindness. In the same way that Hashem's purpose for creating and sustaining the world is the ultimate act of kindness, so too, must we do Chesed. He understood that the greatest Chesed possible was to help others recognize the manifest presence of G-d in nature, and urge them to assume the responsibilities of creating a society that reflects His presence.

Acting upon their understanding and convictions, Avraham and Sarah went out into society to teach them their potential for recognizing and relating to the Creator. In so doing, all the families of the earth were "blessed" through them, and Avraham earned the historic title of "The Father of Monotheism".

The Mishnah teaches us that the responsibility for teaching monotheism should have been the prerogative of all people. Any person or nation could have embraced this job and become "The Chosen". However, only Avraham did so. Therefore, his and Sarah's greatest reward was to have children and descendants that would continue their work of teaching the world about G-d. Their reward was to give birth to a nation that would one day receive the Torah, the instruction manual for revealing the Creator in nature and the means for introducing Him into the daily workings of society. Parshas Lech Lecha relates the story of Avraham and Sarah, and their unique success in teaching the world about Hashem. May we as their children continue to exemplify their teachings.

Good Shabbos.


Copyright © 1998 by Rabbi Aron Tendler and Project Genesis, Inc.
We welcome your comments.
The author is Rabbi of Shaarey Zedek Congregation, Valley Village, CA.

 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

The Nine Days of Mourning
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Petty Squabble to Baseless Hatred
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

You Gotta Believe
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765

> Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

And So The Journey Continues
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

The Laws of Kashrus: Is it techinical or something deeper?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Only the Shadow Knows
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Wise Rebuke
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Sense and Sensitivity
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Meaningful Approach
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

It's Not What You Want - But How You Ask
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

ArtScroll

Points to Ponder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

No Empty Matter
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Learning to Love What Is!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

In the Eye of the Beholder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766



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