Kenneth Cohen

Passing Divine Tests

Parshat לך לך begins with the first of ten tests that Avraham Avinu was given, to show his perfect faith in G-d. This first test or נסיון, was to leave his family and go to the Land that he would be shown.

The final test was the Binding of Isaac, known as עקידת יצחק. It is noteworthy that the last test also began with the words, לך לך, where Avraham was told to go the Land of Moriah, and sacrifice his son.

The double language is explained that Avraham was to go, but it really was for his own benefit. This is the lesson related to the tests that all of mankind is given. When he passes the test, he is strengthened. And Hashem never sends us a test that we can’t pass. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t a major challenge, because it often is.

The Ramchal in Derech Hashem points out that G-d, Himself, created evil in the world, in order to test man. He wanted to be able to give man the ultimate good for eternity, but it needed to be deserved.

When man is able to use his free will and overcome the temptations that exist in the world, he becomes empowered. He knows the struggle to always do the right thing and make the right decisions. He realizes the sacrifices of avoiding taking the easy way out, and, instead, being willing to go that extra distance, that others are not.

When one can look back at his life with pride, that he did not rationalize, but served G-d to the fullest, he will be granted that Good, reserved for the righteous.

This was the example of Avraham Avinu. His commitment and faith, served as an example for all of his descendants. We pray for the time of Mashiach, when evil will be destroyed, because the world will all except Hashem as the true King.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at