It's hard to be a Jew, but very rewarding

Parting advice: Remain faithful to Hashem, let that faith and trust keep growing.

Phil Chernofsky ,

Paratrooper praying on Golan Heights
Paratrooper praying on Golan Heights
Flash 90

Here is a note from Avraham Avinu to his descendants - us.

When HaShem told me LECH L'CHA, I didn't know to where I was going. But I went. It can be done. And I did it with no precedent to back me up, then you can do it, knowing that many many others of your fellow Jews (to use your common term; I would have said IVRI'IM) have done it before you. And, I can tell you, many of them have not regretted their Aliya for a moment.

The Torah says, more than once, that the K'naani and Emori were in the Land. True, you have others that are in the Land, but the difference is that the Land is yours. For me it was just promises, with difficulties ahead, but for you - go for it. I knew it was R'TZON HASHEM (G-d's Will), and so you must realize.

Keep remembering that I did the hard stuff, and you get the benefit of my experience and those of many, many generations. True, some didn't handle it well. But others did, and I have confidence in you.

Let me focus and what happened with Yitzchak, my son, your second Av. Lech L'cha was the first challenge, and it was followed by several more. But just when I thought things were settling down, I received the same command again.

G-d said to me to take Yitzchak V'LECH L'CHA EL ERETZ HAMORIYA... And you know the rest. You read it every Rosh HaShana, and on Shabbat Parshat Vayeira. And many of you use it as an intro to your davening. Not just any of the davenings, but the one that I established - Shacharit.

The Akeida was the most challenging of tests of faith that I was subjected to. It was very hard. But we did it. I couldn't have done it without my Yitzchak.

That second Lech L'cha was also without precedent - which made it so hard.

And I know that you have your challenges in life, but, again I say, I did the hard stuff and I did it for you.

I do not say any of this boastfully. I say it as a loving father who gladly sets the model for his offspring to follow.

The Tana'im said it well when they said you should be students of mine, not just children.

I hope you have learned a lot from me, my wife Sara, our son Yitzchak, his wife Rivka, whose birth I heard about on my return from the Akeida.

It's hard to be a Jew, but very rewarding. Parting advice, for now? Remain faithful to HKB"H, let that faith and trust keep growing - make me proud.



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