Sunday, November 6, 2011

lech lecha


With Abram (Abraham), there opens a new chapter in the history of the human race, a chapter which will have profound and eternal consequences. The first two thousand years since the Creation of Mankind were an era of desolation; Adam and Eve had fallen, Abel had become the victim of the world’s first murder, idolatry had been introduced and had flourished. Ten of the most dismal generations in the history of Mankind had been washed away in the Deluge, save Noah. The ten generations since Noah had also failed because they were distracted and another evidence of the fallen nature of Mankind soon appeared----drunkeness, which created a curse upon one of the generations which would follow Ham, Noah’s son who, whether by mistake or evil intent, saw his father’s nakedness and ignored the honorable thing by not covering him (Noah).
The parashah opens with the “word of the Lord to Abram.” The Memra (word) contains a command and a promise. The command involved Abram to “go from your land...your relatives and your father’s house to the land I will show you.” This introduces us to a new step adopted by God in the training of Mankind. The dispersal of mankind, which was the consequence of the Tower of Bavel, was a necessary, preliminary step to this new education process of the world----the gathering together of a single people in order to teach them to know God and understand and be an example of His governance. The promise involved God’s blessing and curses: “I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and him who curses you I will curse and all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” Abram was not only to receive blessing but to be a blessing; not only blessed by God but to become a blessing, or the medium of a blessing, to others. The blessing and cursing of generations to come would depend entirely upon their attitude towards him---- a blessing when treated with reverence and respect, a cursing (judicial consequences on the part of God) when considered lightly or with subtle despite.
As we read closely the remainder of the parashah, we can see a clear hope which has sprung from the faith of Abram. As he recognized God and sought to obey Him, he had within him a spark of the hope and faith which would be adopted by future generations. Only one clear Voice has spoken with clear and unfaltering words amidst the “confused tongues” Abram had no doubt previously heard but failed to comprehend. No member of Abram’s generation had spoken with such clarity and singleness of purpose. The Word had created a living stream which runs through the history of Mankind, giving life to those who choose to live by its banks. This hope of Abram has been fulfilled and realized in the life of Messiah. The faith shown by Abram and the blessings which were promised that day lived in the heart of that solitary man and has brought blessings to all the families of the earth.

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