The question asked is why was Abraham the first Jew? He certainly was not the first believer in God.
The answer is not so clear – I want to suggest:
- He actively spoke and promoted the concept of One God.
- The Torah itself says “ God loved him because he commands his children and household that they will observe the way of the Lord to perform righteousness and justice”. Genesis 18.19
In Parsha Veyera we learn of Abraham’s chesed and hospitability to strangers and the fight for justice in Sodom.
We like to think that Abraham was perfect. Abraham was challenged many times and lived in a broken world of wars, sexual harassment, greed, and evil. Quoting Rav Adin Steinsaltz. “Abraham’s story is about the triumph of a man who followed a path that included trials, struggles, and setbacks, but in the end, succeeded in achieving his goals.”
It is no co-incident that Yahrzeit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach falls out between Parsha Lech Lecha and Vayera the Parshiot that highlight the life of Abraham.
Both were trailblazers – Reb Shlomo was influenced by the Holocaust, and he tried to breathe life into a world and Judaism that was broken.
He through music, stories, and original Torah thoughts inspired generations of Jews to a more joyful, a more connected Judaism.
The more we see how crazy this world is, the more we can appreciate Reb Shlomo’s teachings and gifts left to us.
Reb Shlomo, as everyone knows, talked about the broken world, His universal message is where the world looks to Jerusalem for inspiration. Unfortunately, the world is ridden with hate and evil, and this message is currently lost.
Going deeper, Reb Shlomo stood unequivocally for Jewish Rights to their historical home – Just seeing these videos which are so powerful and relevant for our challenges today.
It is as if his messages addressing us in real-time – They are so relevant today.
So, are his messages of dealing with our emotional wellbeing (mindfulness) and the correct perspective and balance in Life.
Reb Shlomo continues to challenge us. By way of example. Paraphrasing Reb Shlomo
“How much light do have when it is dark? Everybody believes in God (and Life) when you at the Holy Wall (and Everything is Good). How much do believe in God when things are bad and there is so much Evil in the World. How do we react when faced by challenges? That is the acid test.
At a time when Israel and Judaism are under attack, where our faith is challenged , where Israel’s existence is challenged – His music answers this in such simple and powerful tunes – Am Yisrael,Chai Am Yisrael Chai.”
Reb Shlomo’s spirit and influence are very much still alive today.
As usual there are host of events commemorating his contribution to Jewish Life.
Link to Simchat Event
His 27th Yahrzeit starts on Thursday Evening
For a list of the 27th Yartzeit Events – go to –
Selected other events
A very interesting Interview with Reb Shlomo (In Hebrew)
Videos from last year Yahrzeit events