This brief line is a parody on a line from the classic weekly Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In comedy hour of the late sixties and early seventies:
“And now, the man without whom the Jews wouldn’t be the Jews without the Jew, Avraham Avinu!”
Rabbi Mordechai Katz capsulizes Avraham’s self-evolving closesness to Hashem in his sefer L’il Mode U’Lamed (page 23):
"There were ten generations from No’ach til Avram. Avram lived in Uhr Kasdim and it was there that he realized the oneness of Hashem, and it was there that he risked his life to follow Him and not to worship idols".
We all know about Avraham’s confrontations with his father, Terach, and with King Nimrod over the idols and the latter result being Avraham being tossed into a flaming furnace only to emerge unscathed.
This vort (short Torah idea) would seem to readers to be a repeat of last year’s vort for Parshat Lech Lecha. However, in light of all that has transpired over this past year, from the seemingly bogus results of last November’s American presidential election, to the accelerating level of anti-semitic attacks on Jews in the U.S. and throughout the world, to the recent Biden/Harris adminstration’s Afghanistan catastrophe — and the number of administration appointed and politically “useful…”Jews intimately involved in it, the gist of this vort seems even more pertinent and worthy of repetition and embellishment now to encourage and urge world Jewry to complete their nearly two-thousand year mission — to Come Home.
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin provides the food for this vort in his sefer, “Unlocking the Torah Text” (Sefer Breish’t, Parshat Lech Lecha, pages 60-62):
"At the end of Parshat No’ach, Avraham’s father, Terach embarks upon a mysterious journey with his entire family. Without knowing why, the Torah simply states, 'And they [Terach’s family, including Avraham and his family] left Uhr Kasdim to travel to the land of Cana’an.'” (Rabbi Goldin citing and rendering to English Sefer Breish’t, Perek 11, posuk 31)
"This journey was aborted, short of its destination, as the Torah indicates: 'And they came to Charan and they settled there… And Terach died in Charan.'” Rabbi Goldin citing and rendering to English Sefer Breish’t, Perek 11, posukim 31-32)
"What we do know is that Avraham’s journey emerges from the text as a continuation of his father’s original quest. The difference between father and son, from this perspective, lies in their ability and in their willingness [or in Terach’s case, possible lack of both] to stay the course, to complete the journey.
"The Torah’s message is clear. Success in life depends not only on originality and inventiveness but also upon the often overlooked qualities of persistence and constancy. What separates Avraham from Terach, on one level, is that Avraham finishes the journey while Terach does not. How many individuals across the face of history have made a real difference simply because they have been willing and able to finish the task?"
Rabbi Goldin continues (ibid):
"The Torah teaches us the important lesson of staying the course within the context of Avraham’s journey to the Land of Israel. This… message… could not be more pertinent to our times.
"Today’s diaspora community of Jews exists at a time when return to Israel is possible. And yet, for a variety of reasons, some more compelling than others, our personal journeys to our homeland have been aborted. Like Terach, …[many, most] have decided to stay in Charan at a time when other choices exist.
"…That might explain why one can currently observe, even within the affiliated community of Jews, a growing apathy to the miracle that is the State of Israel. We care about Israelis; we are concerned for their safety; but in our eyes the State of Israel has, to a great extent, lost its luster. Israel’s existence no longer moves [many] of us as it once did.
"This growing apathy is reflected in the ambivalence of [many in] the 'Yeshiva world' towards the state, in the declining spirit of the Religious Zionist community in America and [the]… growing tendency [among secular Jews] to make… support for the State of Israel conditional upon its adherence to… [their] political positions. [Example being 'JewStreet']
"Time is precious, and we cannot afford the luxury of avoidance. Tension can be productive if it moves us toward positive action.
"….We must remember and our children must learn that we live in a time when the dreams of thousands of years are being realized.
"Not all of us have the strength or the ability to be an Avraham, but at least, we must avoid being a Terach. We cannot afford to be comfortable in the diaspora.
"By recognizing that the journey is not yet over and that… [many of us] are not yet home, we will play a role in ensuring that our people finish the journey.
To repeat this thought from Rabbi Goldin:
"How many individuals across the face of history have made a real difference simply because they have been willing and able to finish the task?"
It’s time for all Jews who sincerely identify with their Judaism to make their move for Aliya to Eretz Yisrael, to stay the course and follow it through to physically make it to Eretz Yisrael.
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint.
Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now free of his parole and restrictions and that he and his ill wife Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha are finally home in Eretz Yisrael. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of seven years ago.
May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication.
And may we soon and finally see the total end to the corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.