Monday, November 7, 2011

299 - Lech Lecha

At the end of this week's parsha the Torah describes Hashem's commandment and Avraham's performance of the bris milah. To truly appreciate the enormity of this event, we must take a few minutes to contemplate the implications of the Torah's account of this mitzvah.

The parsha begins with Hashem telling Avraham to leave his land of residence for an unknown destination. Avraham was seventy five years old at the time. However, the Torah does not tell us anything about the first years of his life. We aren't told that he was thrown into a fiery furnace because of his staunch faith in Hashem, nor does the Torah describe the twenty years he spent in jail, as related by Chazal. Rather, the Torah chose to begin its narrative of Avraham from the first time Hashem spoke to him. This was the type of event that the Torah felt imperative to record for all future generations.

The parsha concludes with Hashem's mitzvah of bris milah. This was an even higher spiritual level and a greater connection to Hashem than described at the beginning of the parsha. Not only did the Creator speak with a human being, He actually created a covenant with him! Moreover, the relationship between them was so great that Hashem obligated Himself to guard this covenant!

In Tehillim (148, 13) it says, "Praise the name of Hashem for His name alone is exalted." Hashem is exalted beyond our comprehension. Nevertheless, the following pasuk declares, "And He will raise the pride of His nation, causing praise for all His pious ones; for Bnei Yisroel His intimate people." Despite the awesome loftiness of the Creator, there is a nation on earth that He considers to be His cherished and intimate people and with whom He interacts!

This relationship began with the Avos, and more specifically with Avraham Avinu. It is hard to comprehend how a human being was able to grow so tremendously, to the point that he merited obtaining a covenant with Hashem. One who questions the veracity of the prophecies of our Avos or of Moshe Rabbienu hasn't demonstrated that he doesn't believe in the Creator. Rather, he has shown that he doesn't believe that such greatness is attainable by a human being.

One of the very foundations of our faith as Yidden is that a person has the ability to reach the level where Hashem will actually speak to him. From here we see the awesome potential that every Yid has in creating a relationship with Hashem. Let us not sacrifice this potential by getting caught up in the petty things in life!

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