Where Our Story Really Begins

October 22, 2017 at 2:39 AM , , ,

….And G-od said to Avram. “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that i will show you….״ (Bereishit 12:1)

״…ויאמר ה׳ אל אברם לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית אביך אל הארץ אשר אראך….״ – בראשית יב, א

Lech Lecha

The Torah gives us no introduction about Avram’s accomplishments in the first seventy-five years of his life, before telling us that G-d commanded him to leave his homeland (and promised him great rewards in return). Even a short description saying that Avram was a righteous person who found favor in G-d’s eyes, like the introduction given for Noach, is not offered about the man who discovered the One Creator on his own, years before G-d communicated with him.

In doing so, the Torah defines the unique nature of Avram, the father of the Jewish nation, distinguishing his and his progeny’s relationship with G-d from that of the rest of civilization. All humankind can discover G-d intellectually and draw near to Him emotionally. What makes the Jew unique is that our primary relationship with G-d is not our inner discovery of G-d and our feelings of attachment to Him, but G-d’s choice in us as His people, and the connection forged with Him through observing His commands.

The Torah therefore skips the stories of Avram’s piety and his work in introducing monotheism to the world up until this point. Instead, the Torah begins the story of the Avram with G-d’s first communication and command to him, “Go forth from you land.” For the finite human effort in developing a meaningful relationship with G-d is utterly meaningless in comparison to the connection forged by G-d singling out the Jew and commanding him, and the Jew in turn observing those commands.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 25, pp. 47-50

 

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