Who is this man chosen to hear the Master of the universe among his generation?
“And God said to Abram: ‘Go to yourself (lech lecha) from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you’ (…)” (Genesis 12:1)
Jewish oral tradition tells us that Abraham was one of the few individuals of his time who believed in the uniqueness of God, and rejected idolatry. Noah and his children were still alive while Abraham heard this divine call.
This is the call that everyone who acknowledges the Creator as the one and only God, and who also rejects idolatry, should hear every moment. It is his/her most treasured awareness that he/she has, because it is the lot that makes anyone happy in this world.
This divine call is an invitation to keep such awareness permanently in our consciousness: go to yourself, to the portion as your lot that makes you truly happy, truly fulfilled. We achieve that permanency in a special land that the Creator wants to give us, the children of the covenant, the ones who recognize His oneness. The Promised Land is both the physical and spiritual place where we can achieve permanent awareness of our connection with the Creator. A land that we have to conquer in order to live peacefully and harmonically in it.
“And I will make you a great nation; I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing.” (12:2)
When we walk in love’s ways and attributes we indeed become a blessing, because love is a blessing. Abram, later named Abraham by God, is considered the epitome of loving kindness (chesed in Hebrew) which is one of God’s attributes (Exodus 34:6-7).
As we said in our previous commentary on parshat Noach, in this context Abraham’s love met God’s love. Abraham’s loving kindness was a blessing for those around him, and we also must manifest this attribute because it is what makes us God’s image and likeness.
We often say that God’s love created us, and through the awareness of love we are able to know the Creator. For Abraham this fundamental principle was so clear that he was able to overcome all the trials throughout his lifetime.
“Fear not, Abram, I am a shield for you; your reward is very great.” (Genesis 15:1)
Hence if God is our shield, who could be against?
Love is the light with which we clear the darkness in the material world. While we are and manifest God’s ways and attributes there is no better reward.
“I am El Shaddai, walk before Me and be wholehearted. I will set My covenant between Me and you, and I will increase you most exceedingly.” (17:1-2)
The Torah and the Hebrew scriptures are in their entirety a God’s manifesto that proclaims the oneness of the Creator, and constantly warns us about the consequences of idolatry. Since the transgression in the garden of Eden down to our current exile, idolatry has been the cause of humankind’s ills.
The saga of our forefathers and prophets has been a permanent battle against what separate us from the Creator. This separation represents His “enemies” which are also the enemies of Israel.
Our sages single out Abraham as the true father of humankind, not Adam or Noah, because he and Sarah were the first persons who truly walked before God, and were truly wholehearted in His eyes.
From these two exceptional human beings we have to learn how to conceive our Creator and how to relate to Him. The person most mentioned in our oral tradition is Abraham, more than any other biblical character because one of his qualities was his inflexible stance against idolatry.
Abraham’s to the Creator was faultless, and his commitment to His ways unconditional. Interestingly, this is the same unconditional love that God has for all His creation like the air we breathe, like the sun that shines every day, and like the rain that never asks when, where or to whom.
God loves all His creation and He also expects love from us, His creatures. This does not mean that He needs our love. He gave us free will so we can choose His love and not ego’s illusions and fantasies in the material world.
God’s love — which is also our love — is the one that increases us and multiply us as the stars in the sky and the dust in the earth. This is the expansion the Creator wants us to be through His ways and attributes.
Abraham knew that God’s blessings for him and his descendants were not about numbers, but about the traits and qualities that make us grow as light bearers to the world.
We can understand the land of Canaan as life itself, but in order to be true life we have to conquer and subjugate the “nations” that occupy it. These are the lower character traits we have to elevate in order to make them subservient to the higher purpose that love is.
We have to be like Abraham and never compromise to anything that is not God’s loving kindness. We do this by being loving kindness constantly in every aspect of our consciousness. The way to succeed with this is by trusting God’s love and also in our own awareness of love, as Abraham did.
Abraham was afraid of the fate that his descendants would face during their period of servitude in Egypt as well as in their other exiles, because we are not as strong as he was against ego’s materialistic fantasies.
He prayed for us so we may not perish in the darkness of the material world; but it is our responsibility and our choice to cleave to our Creator as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did. This is the true legacy from our patriarchs, a legacy we must honor and fulfill.
Let’s go to our self, our true identity, into the land that God’s love shows us. This is the same love that cries out to Him, so that we once again may dwell in the goodness of the land He gives us.