And Gd called to him: Lech l’cha; a modern interpretation

(Courtesy)

וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת תֶּ֔רַח תֶּ֚רַח הוֹלִ֣יד אֶת־אַבְרָ֔ם אֶת־נָח֖וֹר וְאֶת־הָרָ֑ן וְהָרָ֖ן הוֹלִ֥יד אֶת־לֽוֹט׃

Now this is the line of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot.

And my Bubbie’s sister, Shayndel, left Pinsk with her husband Abram Guz and her six children. It was before the war had reached Pinsk, Byelorus.

וַיָּ֣מָת הָרָ֔ן עַל־פְּנֵ֖י תֶּ֣רַח אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מוֹלַדְתּ֖וֹ בְּא֥וּר כַּשְׂדִּֽים׃

Haran died in the lifetime of his father Terah, in his native land, Ur of the Chaldeans.

and Hannah Guz, one of the daughters, did not go out, yet. She was waiting for her intended Aaron to return home from his conscription in the army. She waited and waited. Then news reached her that he had died in his army service. She had no way to check. She accepted the news and married Moshe Zuker.

וַיִּקַּ֨ח אַבְרָ֧ם וְנָח֛וֹר לָהֶ֖ם נָשִׁ֑ים שֵׁ֤ם אֵֽשֶׁת־אַבְרָם֙ שָׂרָ֔י וְשֵׁ֤ם אֵֽשֶׁת־נָחוֹר֙ מִלְכָּ֔ה בַּת־הָרָ֥ן אֲבִֽי־מִלְכָּ֖ה וַֽאֲבִ֥י יִסְכָּֽה׃

Abram and Nahor took to themselves wives, the name of Abram’s wife being Sarai and that of Nahor’s wife Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.

Hannah accepted the news and agreed to be married to Moshe Zuker.

וַתְּהִ֥י שָׂרַ֖י עֲקָרָ֑ה אֵ֥ין לָ֖הּ וָלָֽד׃

Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.

Now Hannah was barren, she had no child.

וַיִּקַּ֨ח תֶּ֜רַח אֶת־אַבְרָ֣ם בְּנ֗וֹ וְאֶת־ל֤וֹט בֶּן־הָרָן֙ בֶּן־בְּנ֔וֹ וְאֵת֙ שָׂרַ֣י כַּלָּת֔וֹ אֵ֖שֶׁת אַבְרָ֣ם בְּנ֑וֹ וַיֵּצְא֨וּ אִתָּ֜ם מֵא֣וּר כַּשְׂדִּ֗ים לָלֶ֙כֶת֙ אַ֣רְצָה כְּנַ֔עַן וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ עַד־חָרָ֖ן וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ שָֽׁם׃

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan; but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there.

And my Bubbie’s sister, Shayndel, left Pinsk with her husband Abram Guz and five of  her six children. It was before the war had reached Pinsk, Byelorus. They waited in Italy for Hannah and Moshe Zuker to meet up with them there. They had booked passage on a ship that would take them to Haifa. Finally they could wait no longer. They feared for their safety and set sail for Haifa, without Hannah and Moshe. Shayndel’s second daughter, Esther was pregnant with her husband’s, Yehiel Zuker’s, (their) first born child. They prayed for a son. A son would bring them strength and reassurance that Gd had not abandoned them.  The boat trip took much longer than anticipated. The boat tossed and turned in the tumultuous waves.  Nahman, their first born, was born on that boat sailing for Haifa. Why was he named Nahman? Nahman represented their prayer, that he would bring comfort to this displaced family, during turbulent times, possibly even a modern day Noah. They were beginning to wonder if they would ever reach the shores of Haifa and see dry land again…

וַיִּהְי֣וּ יְמֵי־תֶ֔רַח חָמֵ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים וּמָאתַ֣יִם שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּ֥מָת תֶּ֖רַח בְּחָרָֽן׃ )

The days of Terah came to 205 years; and Terah died in Haran.

There was much sea sickness on the ship. Abram Guz was not faring well. The trip on this ship aged and taxed him greatly. He died, within that first year, soon after landing in Haifa.

Lech Lechaלך לך

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ׃

The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Shayndel and Abram Guz had a son named Shmuel Noah. Shmuel Noah married Bracha. Once having arrived in Haifa, soon they all realized that they wanted to live in a community that reminded them of Pinsk. The family chose to move to Me’ah Sha’arim.

וְאֶֽעֶשְׂךָ֙ לְג֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל וַאֲבָ֣רֶכְךָ֔ וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ וֶהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה׃

I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.

Shortly thereafter, Moshe and Hannah arrived in Haifa, right before the Eastern European ports were closed to Jews fleeing their homes. Moshe purchased a building in Bnei Barak for the family to dwell in. Many of the family members began to leave Me’ah Shaarim and move to Bnei Barak. They prayed that they would find blessing and solace living in Bnei Barak, in a community named for a hero, General Barak who saved the Jewish people during the war fought against Sisera and his army, during  the time of Deborah the prophetess.

(Courtesy)

וַאֲבָֽרֲכָה֙ מְבָ֣רְכֶ֔יךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ֖ אָאֹ֑ר וְנִבְרְכ֣וּ בְךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הָאֲדָמָֽה׃

I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.”

The war finally ended. The Holocaust was officially over. Anti-Semitism was still rampant throughout the world. Jews were still being killed for being Jewish. Jews were still in hiding. But this family began to set down roots in Bnei Barak and feel blessed and safe from their cursed enemies.

וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ אַבְרָ֗ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר דִּבֶּ֤ר אֵלָיו֙ יְהוָ֔ה וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ אִתּ֖וֹ ל֑וֹט וְאַבְרָ֗ם בֶּן־חָמֵ֤שׁ שָׁנִים֙ וְשִׁבְעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה בְּצֵאת֖וֹ מֵחָרָֽן׃

Abram went forth as the LORD had commanded him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

And my Bubbie’s sister, Shayndel, left Pinsk with her husband Abram Guz and her six children. It was before the Holocaust and the war had reached Pinsk, Byelorus. It was before the Aktion where thousands of Jews, including many of my Bubbie’s family, were rounded up and shot in the square.

And these are the generations of Shayndel and Abram Guz as they departed from Pinsk. To them were born six children who lived. There were three sons and three daughters. The three sons were named Hayim, Shmuel Noah, and Eliezer or Lazar for short. The three daughters were named Rachel, Esther, and Hannah ( as are my daughters). Each one was blessed to marry and four of them were blessed to have many descendants. This family is now continuing on with generation #six ( starting from Shayndel and Abram Guz) in Esther’s (Yehiel Zuker) and in Shmuel’s (Bracha Guz) families that I am still in contact with. There are now hundreds of descendants I am told. The Holy seedlings sprouted.

Although, we all struggle through the pandemic of Covid 2020, we feel blessed with Gd’s kindness and grace as we go forward with Gd’s mission, spreading Gd’s light.

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ׃. The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

We have left our known and familiar comfort stations in life and have attempted to navigate the terrain of the unknown pandemic 2020. We praise Gd for his mitzvot, guidance and teachings, his unswerving support and love for us, and his abundant blessings that he has bestowed upon us.  We  appreciate any and all of our good fortune that comes from Gd.

וְאֶֽעֶשְׂךָ֙ לְג֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל וַאֲבָ֣רֶכְךָ֔ וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ וֶהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה׃

I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.

Blessings are everywhere. Although Hitler killed millions, our family was not totally wiped out or destroyed, B”H. We were left with remnants, like random seeds, being blown this way and that way, in the wind. But those seeds of our family who did survive, did not lay down, shrivel, and quit life. They were planted and set down new roots; they rebuilt themselves and their lives by giving life and breath to those around them and those in need.

וַאֲבָֽרֲכָה֙ מְבָ֣רְכֶ֔יךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ֖ אָאֹ֑ר וְנִבְרְכ֣וּ בְךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הָאֲדָמָֽה׃.

I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” 

As  new generation steps forward to carry the mantle of leadership and steer our family’s ship towards Hashem’s destined blessed plans for us, we have been able to bring abundant blessings to our ever growing families and to those who live among us. Businesses were established. Yeshivot were built.We don’t just thrive, we offer great quality of living to those who choose it. It is there for the taking.

(Courtesy)

(Upcoming blessings in my own family; my niece is pregnant with a son, due in March, and my own, Shira Rachel Hannah (family names) is planning on her Jewish wedding next year, hopefully, G”W, post Covid. )

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Claire, the teddy bear Rabbi

Creating renewed joy with one teddy bear at a time.

Covid 2020

About the Author
Rabbi Claire conceived of the concept Bears from Bergenfield upon a routine check of the Israeli staff at camp SLC August of 2001. She realized that the world needed to wake up and become aware of the suffering the Israelis were enduring as the Palestinians continued their intifada against them. After 18 years and 195,000 teddy bears amassed and redistributed, Rabbi Claire is searching for more public platforms to proliferate and advance her message, that Jewish lives matter, especially with a teddy bear. Rabbi Claire lives in Bergen County with her husband of 38 years, Larry, and their 4 children, Sam, Shira, Seth, and Sarah Rose, plus their incoming son-in-law Ivan. For further information of how to get involved with this endearing project, contact her at lgcg98@aol.com.
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