Parshas Lech Lecha
From Egypt to Israel
Sponsered by Judy Citer, Sherry Simantov and Ruth Gross in honor of
yahrzeit of their beloved father, Yehudah Aryeh Ben Yehoshua a"h
Our father Avraham and our mother Sarah are the paradigm Jews. Their lives
and the events that occurred to them are symbolic of the story of the
Jewish people throughout the ages. This is certainly the meaning of the
well known phrase of the rabbis that “the behavior of our forbearers are
the signs of the future for their descendants.” Thus in this week’s parsha
we see Avraham and Sarah going into exile in Egypt. This occurs after God
has promised them that the Land of Israel will be given to them and their
descendants. Almost immediately, they are forced to enter Egypt where the
incident of Sarah’s abduction by the Pharaoh takes place. In spite of all
of the troubles, Avraham and Sarah succeed in the Egyptian exile. They
become wealthy and accepted, even respected. But Avraham and Sarah return
home to the Land of Israel.
Their sojourn there is also one crisis after another. They are devastated
by the betrayal of Lot and by the delinquency of Yishmael. The Land of
Israel is not an especially hospitable place. They are caught up in a
regional war that initially does not concern them but their participation
in becomes almost inevitable when Lot foolishly moves to Sdom and is taken
captive. Betrayal, heartache, danger and disappointment dog their steps in
the Land of Israel. But Avraham and Sarah refuse to give up or to lose
faith in God’s promise to them. The dream of a productive life in the Land
of Israel remains real in their hearts and minds.
This is truly a paradigm of our situation today here in the Land of
Israel. Even though many of our Israeli brethren arrived here with little
choice in the matter, most Jews are here because of their will to be here.
We can all leave for success and acceptance in the “Egypts” that abound in
the world today. And even though “Egypt” always carries with it the danger
of a “Pharaoh’s” behavior towards us, the fact is that most Jews emerge
from “Egypt” with wealth, acceptance and even begrudging respect. Yet, it
is obvious that the center of the Jewish world has now shifted to the Land
of Israel. The Jewish people are unwilling to relinquish God’s promise to
us – to let Him off the hook, so to speak. So we are confronted by
betrayals and delinquencies, wars and struggles, disappointments and
unforeseen difficulties. Somehow, even Sdom is allowed to flourish in our
holy land and it is the followers of Avraham and Sarah who are constantly
held up to ridicule and abuse.
Yet, in spite of all of this, the faith of the Jewish people in God’s
promise regarding this land is valid and firm, and it allows us to
continue and improve and be of good spirit in the face of all of our
troubles. This is an exact imitation of Avraham and Sarah, a reaffirmation
of the continuity and tradition of Israel over more than 3700 years of
history. It is this spirit that guarantees us, as it did Avraham and
Sarah, success, eternal reward and achievement.
Rabbi Berel Wein
Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org
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