For the week ending 28 October 2023 / 13 Cheshvan 5784

Parshat Lech Lecha

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair - www.seasonsofthemoon.com
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Ten generations have passed since Noach. Man has descended spiritually. In the year 1948 from Creation, Avram is born. By observing the world, Avram comes to recognize G-d’s existence, and thus merits G-d appearing to him. At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, G‑d tells Avram to leave his land, his relatives and his father's house and travel to an unknown land where G-d will make him into a great nation. Avram leaves, taking with him his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, their servants, and those whom they converted to faith in G-d. When they reach the land of Canaan G-d appears to Avram and tells him that this is the land that He will give to his descendants.

A famine ensues and Avram is forced to relocate to Egypt to find food. Realizing that his wife’s beauty could cause his death at the hand of the Egyptians, Avram asks her to say that she is his sister. Sarai is taken to Pharaoh, but G‑d afflicts Pharaoh and his court with severe plagues and she is released unmolested. Avram returns to Eretz Yisrael (Canaan) with much wealth given to him by the Egyptians. During a quarrel over grazing rights between their shepherds, Avram decides to part ways with his nephew Lot. Lot chooses to live in the rich but corrupt city of Sodom in the fertile plain of the Jordan. A war breaks out between the kings of the region and Sodom is defeated. Lot is taken captive. Together with a handful of his converts, Avram rescues Lot, miraculously overpowering vastly superior forces, but Avram demurs at accepting any of the spoils of the battle.

In a prophetic covenant, G-d reveals to Avram that his offspring will be exiled to a strange land where they will be oppressed for 400 years, after which they willemerge with great wealth and return to Eretz Yisrael, their irrevocable inheritance. Sarai is barren and gives Hagar, her Egyptian hand-maiden, to Avram in the hope that she will provide them with a child. Hagar becomes arrogant when she discovers that she is pregnant. Sarai deals harshly with her, and Hagar flees. On the instruction of an angel, Hagar returns to Avram and gives birth to Yishmael. The weekly portion concludes with G-d commanding Avram to circumcise himself and his offspring throughout the generations as a Divine covenant. G-d changes Avram’s name to Avraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah. Hashem promises Avraham a son, Yitzchak, despite Avraham being ninety-nine years old and Sarah ninety. On that day, Avraham circumcises himself, Yishmael and his entire household.


The Blessings That Come With A Clothes Dryer

“…to the Land that I will show you” (12:1)

In the first week of the war, I got a phone call from a lady who said they wanted to deliver the dryer that I bought before Yom Tov. I told her I was surprised than companies were still working in highly non-essential items like drying machines in the middle of a war. “Sure, we are!” she said. Before we got off the phone she said to me in Hebrew, “Be Safe! May we hear good news soon! Hashem should guard you! May Hashem bless His People with peace!” She wouldn’t let me off the phone until she had completed a litany of blessings for me, my family and the entire Jewish People.

“Who is like your people Israel, one nation in the world!”

The feeling of unity here in Eretz Yisrael is incredible. My son-in-law got back from the South of Israel, where he and his friends were dispensing homemade food and supplies to the soldiers. He told me, “You can’t believe how happy they were to see us.” It wasn’t the homemade cakes; it wasn’t the homemade sandwiches – it was the homemade love!”

We say in the Mincha prayer on Shabbat afternoon, “You, Hashem, are one, and Your name is One, and who is like Your people Israel, one nation in the land.”

To the extent we are one nation, so too Hashem’s Name will be One. The world will see that there is a Divine Being Who runs everything, and that nothing is random. It is axiomatic that Hashem is One, and thus the unity of the Jewish People is a mystical and spiritual imperative.

If we do not unite in love and joy, Hashem will unite us in grief and war. May Hashem protect His people. May He protect the soldiers who defend His People. May He protect Klal Yisrael in all the places of our Diaspora.

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