This Shabbat, we read Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27). The Haftorah (reading from the Prophets) we read is from the Book of Isaiah (40:27-41:16).
The main theme of this week’s Torah Portion is the “chosen-ness” (I know there isn’t such a word in English) of our Forefather Abraham, and many of the tests, trials & tribulations that Hashem put him through. I often wonder (and many of our Sages, as well) how Abraham felt with all this animosity that he faced; first from his family, then his city (including King Nimrod) and the entire population of Mesopotamia! All the Torah tells us is that “Hashem spoke to Abram, saying: go forth from your country, from your birthplace and from your father’s household to the land which I will show you”! In modern day terms – give up your family, citizenship and nationality, and become a nomad in a land that you will be treated as an “illegal immigrant”!!!
I feel like history always repeats itself. My take on the story of Abram leaving Mesopotamia, is that his new way of thinking, his new way of life, could not be tolerated by the people around him. What he was teaching & preaching was that G-d alone is the One to be worshiped, and that man-made ethics & morals don’t work – if they aren’t based on a true faith in the One and Only G-d! Not so long ago, there was a person who lost his right to be called human – because he lost what we call in Hebrew – TZELEM ELOKIM (G-dly image). Abraham tried to teach humanity that it doesn’t matter what your skin colour is, it doesn’t make any difference what your religious background is – as long as you teach (AND act) in a way that a human being should speak and act! The Nazis truly believed that they were superior! And, therefore, could commit crimes against humanity, and never be accountable!
At the end of the Parasha, Hashem asks Abraham to make a sign in his body to show his devotion and covenant with G-d. I truly believe that the reason this is done on a very private part of the body – is because Hashem doesn’t want it to be public! My skin colour (and, in the last 50 years or so – my sexual orientation) is NONE of anybody’s business besides G-d!!! For example, there is a certain person in the US today whose skin colour is not white, who teaches hate towards Christians & Jews; there was an animal in Germany 80 years ago who wrote a book about how his “race” is superior – they are BOTH so wrong that they’re not worth us talking about them! However, if we consider ourselves “sons & daughters of Abraham” (even spiritually, if not biologically) – we must make sure to state, like Abraham, that “ALL lives matter”. I am no better than anybody else, but I have a relationship with my Creator, and that’s why I must love all other human beings who are created in His image (excluding only those who behave like vicious/wild animals).
Candle lighting in Kehillat Kodesh Sgoolai Israel this Friday will be at 6:22 pm (18:22)
Wishing you all a very good Shabbos