Parsha Summary; Lost on the Way

Avram, like his father, had an impulse regarding Israel. But unlike his father, Avraham decides to act on that impulse!

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Arutz 7

Avram is born in the year 1948 after Creation. He discovers G-d's existence and is told to leave his land to travel to a place where He will become a great nation. He takes Sarai, Lot, and converts who believe in Hashem.

In Canaan, G-d appears to Avram and tells him this is the land He will give his descendants. A famine ensues and Avram is forced to go to Egypt to find food. Sarai is taken by Pharaoh, but G-d afflicts Pharaoh until he releases Sara.

After a quarrel over grazing rights, Avram parts ways with Lot, who lives in rich but corrupt Sodom.

A war breaks out and Lot is captured. Avram rescues Lot but accepts no spoils. G-d tells Avram his offspring will be exiled to a strange land and oppressed for 400 years, then emerge with great wealth and return to Israel.

Sarai is barren and gives Hagar, her Egyptian servant to Avram to provide them a child. Hagar becomes arrogant; when Sarai deals harshly with her; Hagar flees. An angel tells Hagar to return; she gives birth to Yishmael.

Hashem commands Avram to circumcise himself and his offspring; his name is changed to Avraham, and Sarai to Sarah. G-d promises Avraham a son, Yitzhak, though Avraham is 99 years old and Sarah 90.

Haftora: Yeshayau 40.

Lost Along the Way

There are any number of heroic figures throughout the Torah: the Avot and Imahot, of course, Moshe, Pinchas, Yehoshua, Calev and more. There’s no shortage of villains, either: Paro, Bilam, Datan and Eisav readily come to mind.

But then we have another category; that of tragic figures. Among them, I suggest, is Terach, father of Avraham. Terach was in the idol business (perhaps the name of his store was “The Devil’s Workshop,” as in “idol hands are the devil’s workshop?!”). But then, influenced by his brash and brilliant son Avram, Terach makes a whole new start.

He has an instinct, an impulse as to where he needs to be.

So he packs up his family – including Avram, Sari and Lot - and heads for Eretz Yisrael, A.K.A. Canaan. But, alas, he never makes it there. He gets only as far as Charan, then he stops. Why?

Perhaps because there was no Nimrod to worry about there and no fiery furnaces to avoid; and since Avram was already 70 years old, Terach – himself no spring chicken! – sees Charan as being a suitable enough place for his clan to settle down for good.

But of course, had that been the end of the story, we all would not be here today.

B”H Avraham is not content to stay in Charan. Though he preaches to the masses there, and writes books refuting idolatry and promoting monotheism, he has an inner drive to move on to Canaan. For five years, says the Medrash, he commutes back and forth between Israel and Charan, until finally, when he is 75, he gets the definitive directive from the Commander-in-Chief to move to Israel.

Avram, like his father, had an impulse regarding Israel. But unlike his father, Avraham decides to ACT on that impulse!

The buck stops - and the shekel starts - with YOU!
This little-known chapter of the Torah is a mighty moral tale for our own generation.

Like Terach, many Jews of the Diaspora know, deep down, that Israel is our natural habitat, the place where we should be, the place where Hashem wants us to be. We cherish our heritage; we revere and respect the chain of the generations who have prayed towards and for Eretz Yisrael throughout the millenia.

We know our glory days were once in Jerusalem and now are there again. Some may even start their journey and, like Avram, commute regularly back and forth to the Holy Land on a regular basis.

But at some point, unless we want to die in obscurity like Terach, we have to gather our courage & become an Avraham. Perhaps this is the essential reason why the word “Lecha,” YOU, is tacked on to G-d’s command to Avram, “Lech,” GO, (to Israel) as the title of our Sedra.

At the end of the day, YOU must decide to do what is right, even if it means being a loner, an “Ivri” who stands on the other side of the divide. The buck stops - and the shekel starts - with YOU!

There is no better feeling than coming home. And it certainly beats getting lost along the way.