Walking in the footsteps of Avraham

In Parshat Lech Lecha we read about Avraham’s choice to follow God to the Land of Israel.

This is not the only place in the Tanach where Avraham’s journey is mentioned. At the end of Yehoshua’s life (Yehoshua 24:2-4), in his last speech to B’nai Yisrael, Yehoshua says: “Thus said Hashem, the God of Israel: ‘Your forefathers- Terach, the father of Avraham and the father of Nachor- always dwelt beyond the Euphrates River and they served gods of others. But I took your forefather Avraham from beyond the river and led him throughout the Land of Cnaan; I increased his offspring and gave him Yitzchak. To Yitzchak I gave Yaakov and Esav. To Esav I gave Mt. Seir to inherit and Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.’”

This account is familiar as we recite it each year in the Magid section of the Passover Hagada “Mitchila ovdei avoda zara hayu avoteinu”, “In the beginning our forefathers were idol worshippers.”

Maharal explains that the three generations are mentioned here to show that in each generation the idol worshippers were rejected. Avraham was chosen over Nachor, Yitzchak was chosen over Yishmael and Yaakov was chosen over Esav. All of Yaakov’s offspring were holy and therefore all twelve tribes were chosen.

Our forefathers left the spiritual enslavement of idol worship for the intellectual freedom of a faith based religion. Avraham was the first to free himself from idol worship.

According to the Kabala, Avraham passed away on Erev Pesach. Seven generations later, Yehoshua brings Avraham’s descendents back to the land of Avraham.

At the end of Yehoshua’s speech the nation declares their loyalty to the God of their forefathers and continues in Avraham’s path.

At the Passover seder we also declare our loyalty to the God of Avraham- the God who took us out of Egypt.

Abravanel explains that when God brought Avraham to the Land of Israel, He revealed himself over and over again to Avraham in prophetic visions. This shows the holiness of the Land of Israel.

With the founding of the State of Israel, the Jewish people once again have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Avraham and return to the holiest place on earth.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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