Thursday, November 02, 2006

Parsha - Lech Lecha

Here is the beginning of the parsha shiur for Lech Lecha. You can click on the link for a pdf version, or look at for all the parsha shiurim.

Click here to download in pdf format

“G-d said to Avram, ‘Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you’ ... Avram took his wife Sarai and Lot, his brother’s son, and all their wealth that they had amassed, and the souls they made in Haran; and they left to go to the land of Canaan, and they came to the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 12; 1-5). This was one of Avraham’s ten tests (Ethics of the Fathers 5). Because he hearkened to G-d, and left his home, relatives and family he showed his faith and trust in G-d. Yet this passage is remarkably similar to that immediately preceding. “Terach took his son Avram, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of Avram his son, and they departed with them from Ur Kasdim to go to the land of Canaan; they arrived at Haran and they settled there.” The Torah is not merely telling us the travelogue of Terach and his family, but seems to be implying a parallel between Avram and his father. Both set out for Canaan with their families. However, Avram arrived at his destination, whereas Terach gave up en route, and settled in Haran. Surely G-d is as concerned with intent as with deed, therefore we should expect Terach to be praised for beginning the process which Avram was to complete.
Yet even from G-d’s instruction to Avram we see that this is not the case. “Go ... from your father’s house...”. G-d explains to Avram that he is not to continue in his father’s path, but to make a new beginning, abandoning his past. Similarly, as we read in the Haggada of Pesach, when Joshua gives his farewell address to the nation, he contrasts Avraham’s actions with those of Terach. “Your forefathers - Terach, the father of Avraham and the father of Nachor - always dwelt beyond the [Euphrates] river and they served other gods.” (Joshua 24; 2). Avraham, the founding father of the nation and the first to embrace monotheism, is contrasted with his father Terach who remained an idolater. Thus, rather than considering Terach meritorious for setting out for the Land of Israel, he became the epitome of an idol worshipper for his failure to reach that goal. In fact, it seems that Terach’s main failing was his inability to cross the river.

continued on the website or the pdf file (check the beginning of this post)

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