Midreshet Amit


Back to Main Page

The Message of Lech Lecha

By: Rabbi Aharon E. Wexler

While the Torah begins with a broad universal view of man it steadily narrows its focus to the story of just one man and his family. The Parsha opens with a conversation between Avraham and God. Having grown up with all the Midrashim, we forget that God never spoke to Avraham in his youth. All of those stories we grew up with about Avraham destroying the idols in his father’s store, or being thrown into the furnace, happened in the absence of any communication between God and Avraham. God was silent. And it was Avraham’s faith alone that propelled him to believe in God even though God's voice was absent. The greatness of Avraham began not when God first called to him, but during the 75 years of God’s silence, never vindicating Abraham’s belief in Him.

God breaks into Avraham’s life and ends His silence at the age of 75 to tell him to go to Eretz Yisrael. As if to say “Avraham, you are great, and what you have done was great. But for our relationship to continue to the next level you need to get to Eretz Yisrael. Only in Eretz Yisrael can this relationship blossom into its fullness.”

In that first conversation we start a cycle of “introductions” of God to the Avot. Interestingly enough, the first time God speaks to each and every one of the Avot it is in connection to Eretz Yisrael. To Avraham, God opens up by telling him “Lech-Lecha!” Go to Eretz Yisrael. To Yitzchak, the first conversation was the demand not to leave Eretz Yisrael. To Yaacov, he was promised by God to return to Eretz Yisrael.

We are told “Ma’Aseh Avot Siman L’Banim”, that the ‘deeds of the Forefathers are signposts to the Children’. So let us then look at each one of the introductions God makes as a lesson to a different type of Jew. To the Jew who is able to make Aliyah, he is told like Avraham “Lech-Lecha!” Go home to Eretz Yisrael!

To the Sabra, the native born Israeli, he is told like Yitzchak, never to leave Eretz Yisrael. And finally, to the Jew that is here in Eretz Yisrael and is forced to leave like Yaacov; he is promised that God will be with him in the Exile and that he too, will one day return home to the land of his fathers.

And to our alumni all over the world: Your time at AMIT exposed you to the bounty and good of Eretz Yisrael. You have hiked its trails, climbed its mountains and swam in her waters. By doing this, you made Eretz Yisrael a part of you. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov teaches us that every place we go, our ultimate destination is Eretz Yisrael. This connection between the Land of Israel and the Jewish People is a central bedrock of Judaism. If one were to look at the entire Tanach as one literary unit they would surmise that the central theme of the Bible is a romance between God, the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.