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.
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.
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 reached his
are limited and through nullification to Hashem we reach the
infinite. All realm that are beyond comprehension are at our
The next phase
in the transcendent bond was the Brit. 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
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.
This Shabbat is
the eleventh of Cheshvan, the Yahrtzeit of Rachel our mother.
The Midrash teaches that in merit of her weeping for her
children Moshiach will redeem the Jewish people. May we
celebrate this Shabbat together with the patriarchs and the
matriarchs with the coming of Moshiach!!
to the Moshe Chaim Ben Yehudis
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Chabad of Great Neck
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