Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Lech Lecha - 5773

My friends,

This Shabbat we read the portion of "Lech Lecha" ("go"). These two words are G-d’s command to Avram to leave his land, his birthplace, his father's home - everything that he has known - and go to a land which G-d will show him. Our sages tell us that this was the first of ten tests by which Abraham's faith in G-d would be tested again and again. The last test is the story of the Binding of Isaac, when Abraham is asked to take his son Isaac and "Lech Lecha" - to go to the Land of Moriah - and offer Isaac on one of the mountains which G-d will show him.

While Abraham fulfilled the first "Lech Lecha" and left his birthplace and family, the last "Lech Lecha" regarding Isaac was not fulfilled, as G-d stopped him and said to him that it was not necessary to slaughter Isaac, that this was just a test and that he demonstrated his faith in G-d fully.

It is interesting to note that the first time Abraham is introduced to us, it is with the words "Lech Lecha" - "GO!" And after we had followed his life - the trials and challenges he faced in this week's Parasha - next week's Parasha ends with the last encounter Abraham has with G-d, which also begins with the words "Lech Lecha" - "GO!"

The message to us is obvious. We can never stop and be satisfied with what we've accomplished - we need to keep moving in our learning and understanding of Torah. We can never say, "I have done enough Mitzvot and good deeds - I want to retire." "Lech Lecha" - we have to keep going, since life is one test after another.

Another interesting point is that Muslims this week are observing the "Eid al Adha" - the Festival of the Sacrifice - to commemorate Abraham's strong faith in G-d. This year the festival coincides with the reading of the Torah of the same story in our synagogues.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram