Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we read the portion of
Lech Lecha, which begins with Hashem commanding Avraham to leave
the land of his fathers and go to the land of Israel. The
portion continues with Hashem's promise to give them Jewish
people the land of Israel and concludes with the Mitzvah of
circumcision. Avraham is the father of the Jewish people and the
lessons in this week’s portion are significant directives in our
lives and service of Hashem.
The commandment to go to Israel was the
first communication that Avraham received from Hashem. While in
his father’s home, Avraham reached the awareness of the unity of
G-d through his own logic. Furthermore, he reached a pinnacle of
humanitarian greatness independently. This week, Hashem spoke to
him. Interestingly, Hashem didn't tell him to go to Israel.
Rather, He told Avraham to go to the land Hashem would show him.
This is because He wanted that Avraham should go to Israel
because of His commandment rather than the unique qualities of
the Holy Land. This is the foundation of our keeping of the
Torah. When we do a Mitzvah, we must do it because it is the
will of Hashem. Although our appreciation of the Mitzvah adds
fervor and depth to the Mitzvah, the foundation must be to
fulfill Hashem's will.
The literal meaning of the words “Lech
Lecha” is go to yourself. What does this mean? Rashi explains
that Hashem promised Avraham that the journey would be for his
own benefit. Although travel is costly and unsettling, Hashem
assured him the journey would bring wealth, fame and the
blessing of children. This is a promise to each of us that
through subjugating our will to that of Hashem we will receive
blessings that we can appreciate in our own lives. In a deeper
sense, Hashem told him go to your true being! By subjugating his
will to that of G-d's Avraham would not negate his self, but
would instead reach his own true essence. This is because ego
stifles our potential and self realization.
When the Torah describes Avraham's
circumcision, it says that it was done in the midst of the day.
Rashi explains that some people threatened that if Avraham would
go through with the circumcision, they would kill him. Therefore
the Torah says it was done in the midst of the day, in an open
manner, to demonstrate that Hashem protected Avraham. This
parallels Rashi’s commentary concerning Noach’s entering the ark
in the midst of the day. The people of his generation planned to
kill him if he entered the ark. Therefore Hashem had him enter
in the midst of the day, to demonstrate that they were helpless
to foil His plans. The desire to prevent Noach from entering the
ark is understandable: the people knew they were destined to
die. Why, however, did circumcision bring forth such resistance?
This will be understood by a deeper look at the meaning of a
Brit, which means a covenant. Earlier in the portion, when
Hashem made the Brit to give Israel to Avraham, He told Avraham
to slice various animals in half. He then showed him a vision of
a great fire passing through the halves. This was a symbol that
Hashem and Avraham became like to halves of a single entity.
A Brit means a bond that defines who we
are. The Brit is a bond that transcends our behavior, feelings
and logic. From the moment of the Brit we became a people forged
with Hashem, and our very flesh testifies thereto. Whether we
feel it, like it, or understand it, we are one with Hashem. This
great step aroused jealousy and continues to do so until today.
In this portion Avraham built three
altars. The commentaries explain that they parallel the three
Temples: King Solomon’s, Ezra’s and the eternal Temple to be
built by Moshiach. May we speedily merit his coming.
Dedicated to the Koren Family. May Hashem
bless them in every manner
A Project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024
516 4874554 fax 516 4874807