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Standing Strong - In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z'L)
G-d said to Abram, "Go for yourself from your country, from your birthplace, and from your father's house to the land that I will show you." (Genesis 12:1)

The Midrash Rabba (Compilation of Jewish Homiletic 400 - 600 CE; Bereisheet Rabbah 39:1), according to the Mahrzu (Rabbi Ze'ev Volf Einhorn 19th Century; Vilna), a commentary on the Midrash, seems to be perplexed by G-d's order of instruction to Abram. Normally, one physically leaves his father's house first, then his birthplace, and lastly his country. Yet, G-d instructs Abram to leave these places in the reverse order.

Abram was instructed to not only distance himself from these places physically, he must abandon them mentally as well. G-d is commanding Abram to leave in the order of behavioral difficulty. Abram had to rid himself of all influences of his country, his village (birthplace), and his father's home; it is most difficult to leave the ways of your father's house

Why would Abram, the only monotheist of his time, an individual who recognized G-d at a very early stage in life (Bereisheet Rabbah 38:13), need to leave the ways of his past in order to grow spiritually?

The Midrash Rabba uses a parable to understand Abram's struggle:

A wandering man was passing through a town. Witnessing a palace burning to the ground, with no one trying to extinguish the flames, he asks, "Does this palace have no owner? Where is he to save it?" Out comes the owner and exclaims, "It is my palace and it is my wish for it to be burnt."

The people in G-d's world were destroying themselves morally and spiritually. Abram was struggling with the fact that the owner of this world was allowing it to self-destruct. The Mahrzu, commenting on the Midrash Rabba, says that, even with all of Abram's dedication toward G-d, he was sure that G-d had abandoned this world and was not interested, G-d forbid, in man's true growth. A small sense of doubt. But as soon as Abram was asking this question, G-d appeared and told Abram his purpose and that he desires Abram's service. G-d told Abram that to attain the highest spiritual levels he must leave all of his past - country, birthplace, and father's house.

Understanding that G-d has never and will never abandon this world is a tremendous internal struggle. G-d cares. G-d wants us to grow. As we're bombarded with demoralization and temptations in every direction, we must stay strong in our true ways and not succumb to the pressures of the world.
Shabbat Shalom


 
   
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