Parshas Lech Lecha 2018: Just Go
There are times when we find ourselves lacking enthusiasm. Be it at work, home, or with religion chas v’shalom (G-d forbid). We are stuck in a rut and just can't seem to pull ourselves up to be inspired. There may be a resolution to this frustrating phenomenon in our parsha.
The first two thousand years (from the beginning of Creation) was the era of “desolation”. Adom HaRishon (Adam) had fallen into the trap of sin, his son Hevel (Abel) was murdered, idolatry was introduced to humanity, and the ten generations from Adom to Noach had failed to establish a proper world. Avraham (Abraham) was born in the biblical year 1948. In the year 2,000 approximately four years after the dispersion of the Dor Haflagah, and six years prior to the passing of Noach, Avraham began influencing others and popularizing monotheism. According to the Gemora (Talmud) in Avoda Zarah when Avraham emerged, the era of Desolation came to a close and the era of Torah began.
When they were seventy five and sixty five years old, Avram (Avraham) and his wife Sarai (Sarah) were commanded by Hashem to disassociate themselves from their past lives and loved ones and move out to begin a new life.
The passuk says at the beginning of our parsha, “Hashem said to Abram, go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)
Rashi, the absolute essential commentator on the Torah, explains why Hashem withheld the specific destination from Avraham. He says, “Hashem did not reveal it at the time of the command in order to keep him in suspense and thereby make the destination more beloved in his eyes, and in order to reward him for each term used.”
The Medrish writes a very similar concept with but one change. The Medrish states that Hashem didn't tell Avraham where he was to travel to in order to reward Avraham for “every step he took”.
If Hashem would have told Avraham, says Rabbi Baruch Ber Leibovitz zt”l, the commandment of Hashem would have been fulfilled at the time of Avraham’s arrival to his destination. However, now that Hashem didn’t tell him where exactly he was to go and rather, just “to go”, each step Avraham took on his journey was yet another mitzvah. He was fulfilling Hashem’s word with each leg of the journey.
As beautiful of an explanation as this is, what practical application does it have to us in our lives, almost 3,000 years later? Why do we have to know that each step was a mitzvah? Who cares??
Here we see Hashem demonstrated His compassion and desire to reward us for making the right choices. He so badly wants us to do good, that often times He makes it easier in a sense for us to reap the most benefits from a given situation.
When we find ourselves lacking motivation and drive to grow spiritually, to do a mitzvah, or to learn Torah (or in any area of life) sometimes all you need to do is, as Dan Wieden coined it, “Just Do It”! Hashem was telling Avraham to leave EVERYTHING that was comfortable for him and EVERYTHING that was “home” - a tall order. Move out to a completely unknown and unfamiliar (not to mention undisclosed) location. This ultimately was the beginning of our first Patriarch, the great Avraham Avinu. We are supposed to do mitzvos L’shem Shamayim (for the sake of fulfilling Hashem’s commands) but for the times we lack motivation we now know that we may be rewarded for every step we take in the fulfillment of a mitzvah. We should now feel inspired to get out there and take on even the biggest and toughest ones. This lesson is one for all of us.
Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!
Maverick V. Peters