Parashat Lech Lecha!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parasha summary followed by a Dvar Torah;

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

G-d speaks to Avram, commanding him to “Go from your land,
from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show
you.” There, G-d says, he will make him into a great nation. Avram and his wife
Sarai, accompanied by his nephew Lot, journey to the Land of Canaan, where Avram
continues to spread the message of a One G-d.

A famine forces Avram to depart for Egypt, where beautiful Sarai is taken to Pharaoh’s palace; Avram escapes death because they present themselves as brother and sister. A disease prevents the Egyptian king from touching her and convinces him to return her to

Back in the Land of Canaan, Lot separates from Avram and settles
in the evil city of Sodom, where he falls captive when a war breaks out in that
region. Avram sets out with a small army to rescue his nephew, defeats the four
kings, brings back his nephew and all his belongings, plus all the belongings of
the defeated kings.

Still childless ten years after their arrival in the Land, Sarai tells Avram to marry her maidservant Hagar. Hagar conceives, becomes disrespectful toward her mistress, and then flees when Sarai treats her harshly. An angel convinces her to return and tells her that her son will father a populous nation. Ishmael is born in Abram’s 86th year.

Thirteen years later, G-d changes Avram’s name to Avraham and Sarai’s to Sarah, and promises that a son will be born to them; whom they should call Isaac (“will laugh”).
Avraham is commanded to circumcise himself and his descendents as a “sign of the
covenant between Me and you.”

” Dvar Torah ”

Avraham Avinu is one of the most beloved biblical character in
the entire Torah among our sages. Everyone single one of them talks so highly of
him. It seems that even Hashem can’t wait to show off his loyal servant to us.
The first two parashiot of the Torah, Bereshit and Noach, span two thousand
years of human life and events. The Torah records these two millennia in an
almost fast forward mode, only stopping at a few instances of historical
importance – the stories of Adam and Eve, Kayin and Abel, Noach and the Flood,
and the Tower of Babel. However, in this week’s parsha, the Torah slows down
considerably, barely covering a century in relating to us the life of our
father, Avraham. It is as though the Torah in the two previous parashiot was in
a hurry to get to Avraham and his life and tell us about his achievements.

Although Hashem loved Avraham so much, but he didn’t give him an easily
life. The journey through life of Avraham was all about tests. His journey of
tests begins by Hashem asking him to leave his hometown, his friends, his
relatives and his business, and go to an unknown land which Hashem will show
him. Avraham was seventy five years old at the time. We all know how difficult
it is to move from one country to another and start a new life again, especially
when you are not young anymore. But Avraham obeyed G-d’s commandment without a
delay. Yet, as soon as he enters the land, he is faced with a severe famine and
he is forced to move down to Egypt, where his wife is captured by the king. When
he goes back to Israel, he is told that his descendants will be as many as the
stars in the sky, yet his wife remained barren! As soon as he wants to settle
down, his nephew is captured in a war, and he goes to rescue him, risking his life……….

Test after test after test! Ten times to be exact, Hashem tested Avraham. But you may ask yourself, why did Hashem need to test Avraham so many times? Did Hashem have any doubts in his mind that Avraham believes in him?! Did Avraham show any lack of faith ever?! So why did Hashem let Avraham go through so much hardship in his life? Also, why keep testing him if he keeps passing the tests?!

I read an interesting explanation given by Rabbi Eli Scheller. He says, God knew at all times that Avraham would pass the tests. However, He still tested Avraham to enable him to become greater. How he handled the tests and how he overcomed the challenges, are what made Avraham one of greatest human beings. You see, a trial brings out the abilities and potential that is buried deep within a person. For example, you’ll get to know if a
student is a genius, only when he keeps getting 100% in all his tests. Similarly, a man with an anger problem can go to anger management classes so many times and promise that he’ll never get angry again, but until he is put in a challenging situation we cannot say that the man has been cured. A test is what brings a person to the next level. Putting everything you know into action makes all the difference.

With Avraham passing all his tests, it took him to an all new level of greatness. He showed us how to have faith in Hashem at all times, even when things are not going right; How to help a relative in the time of need; How to be hospitable and be delighted to have guests; How to handle our wealth and share it with others; How to not be influenced by our
immoral surroundings; And above all, how to treat, respect and love a barren
wife! All these tests brought out the unique characteristics of Avraham and the
reason why Hashem loved him so much and chose him to be the father of all nations.

Yes my friends, we all dread to be faced with challenges and tragedies in our lives. We all want to have a comfortable, worry-free and an easy life. But what if we are faced with a challenge or a tragedy? Are we going to give up, or are we going to deal with it and try our best to overcome the challenge?! We learn from Avraham Avinu that challenges can make a person grow and make him a greater person. It brings out the best qualities in a person. It makes life more appreciative and gives more meaning to life. To be faced
with a challenge in life is not a sign of failure, but rather, it’s a tool to grow and achieve your best!

Well, we don’t need to look far to find an example. Recently, our dear friend Brian Hakimian was faced with a challenge in his life. He was faced with a life threatening illness. But, like Avraham, he didn’t give up and he faced his challenge. With great enthusiasm, he fights his battle to his best ability and overcomes his fear. He never lost faith in Hashem
and he knows that Hashem will help him to overcome his challenge. This challenge
has surely made him grow into a better person and has brought the best out of
him. We wish him all the best and we pray for his full recovery. He is an inspiration to us all and we raise our hats to him!

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;