Motti Wilhelm

A ‘Hebrew’ Walks Against the Current

A man walks alone against the crowd. (Public)

To be a “Hebrew” means to be willing and able to stand alone against folly, untruth, and immorality. 

Why was the first Jew, Avrohom, called “Ha’Ivri – The Hebrew?” asks the Medrash.

Ivri (Hebrew) is derived from the word ʿever’, a Hebrew word meaning the “other side.” Avrohom was identified as the “one who came from the other side” because he originated from the “other side” of the Euphrates.

 But there is more to it: he is called “The Hebrew” because he stood on the “other side” of world opinion. In a time when every social club, government, and curriculum stood for paganism, one man pitched a tent espousing monotheism.

Four thousand years later, monotheism is the dominant religious belief, but the “Hebrew” still finds themselves “on the other side” of world opinion in defending truth and morality.

How did Avrohom find the strength to stand against universal condemnation? What can we learn as we seek the stamina to keep stating the truth in the face of an onslaught of propaganda?

Avrohom ceased to feel that he was standing; he simply felt what he stood for. His personal rating in the polls had absolutely no effect on him; ensuring the truth was embraced did. When one has no ego, the popularity of their stance ceases to matter. All that matters is the stance itself. At that point, all the noise in the world doesn’t sway one from the truth.

We are still called the “Hebrews,” those who stand solo against a world of opposition. Were it about our ego, popularity, or standing, we would have tired long ago. But it’s not about those things at all. We don’t feel our standing; we feel what we are standing for.

About the Author
Rabbi Motti Wilhelm received his diploma of Talmudic Studies from the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand in 2003 and was ordained as a rabbi by the Rabbinical College of America and Israel’s former chief Rabbi Mordecha Eliyahu in 2004. He was the editor of Kovetz Ohelei Torah, a respected Journal of Talmudic essays. He lectures on Talmudic Law, Medical Ethics and a wide array of Jewish subjects and has led services in the United States, Canada, Africa and Australia. His video blog Rabbi Motti's Minute is highly popular as are his weekly emails. Rabbi Wilhelm and his wife Mimi lead Chabad SW Portland as Shluchim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Related Topics
Related Posts