Friday, October 23, 2015
Lech Lecha 5632 Third Ma'amar
In the beginning of our parsha God commands Avraham Avinu, “לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ ... אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ: וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל .../‘Leave your land … to the land that I will show you. And I will make you into a great nation …” (Breishis 12:1) Ramban asks the following question. Generally, the Torah tells us that receiving God’s bounty is dependent upon our righteousness. One example is, “אִם-בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ ... /If you follow my laws …” (VaYikra 26:3) God tells us that if we listen to Him, He will bless us with His good. However, here, with no introduction whatsoever, God grants Avraham Avinu an incredible gift. What did Avraham Avinu do to deserve this blessing?
The Sfas Emes explains that the command, “לֶךְ-לְךָ/Leave” itself is the clue. This is essentially a command to leave behind those things with which we are familiar in order to follow God and do His will. The command does not even define God’s will. God told Avraham Avinu simply to leave all he was familiar with to follow God to wherever he was led.
It is a command that God is constantly sending to each of us. Most people, though, are not tuned in and do not hear it. The Zohar on this week’s parsha says that people tend not to think about why the world exists and what keeps it in existence. The Zohar (1:77a) says, “Woe to those who are asleep who do not know and do not think …” Avraham Avinu was awake. He was searching. When God commanded, he heard and acted. This is the reason that he merited God’s blessing.
Like Avraham Avinu, even if we do not know what God requires of us, the very intent to fulfill God’s will, to leave behind the familiar and enter uncharted territory in a quest to come close to God, God gives us the understanding and we merit it. Avraham Avinu, as well, did not know where God was leading him. Yet, his desire to come close to God was so strong that he was willing to leave all that was familiar to him behind to do so.
May we all merit hearing God’s command to follow Him and do His will.