Abraham takes his wife and his nephew and leaves for the Land of Israel. The first stop is Shechem, in the heart of Samaria.
The Torah portion called “Lech Lecha” (Genesis 12:1–17:27) can be loosely translated as “Go for yourself!” This is where it all begins. The “Go for yourself” is God telling Abraham that its time bring yourself to a higher level. It’s time to leave your native land of Haran, its time to leave your community, and its even time to leave your family. The Land of Israel is yours. Go and claim it. And bring yourself to a higher level. Make Aliyah!
Abraham knew that he could not live in a land that lacked a code of morality and an awareness of God. Haran, and the world in fact, was a place where God was at best a legend. To share a Midrashic teaching that illustrates this idea: Abraham’s father, Terah, was a manufacturer and retailer of idols. Once Terah had to go away, so he left Abraham to mind the store. Abraham, who realized that idols are nothing more than metal and stone, took a hammer and broke all but one of his father’s idols. He then put the hammer is the hand of the remaining idol.
When Terah returned, he demanded to know what had happened. Abraham explained to his father that the idols got into a fight and destroyed one another. “Why do you mock me?” Terah cried, “Do idols have any knowledge? Any ability of movement?” Abraham replied, “Listen to what you are saying! And you worship these lifeless images?”
Nobody took God Seriously. It was only Abraham in his generation who realized that every sunrise was a gift from God. Abraham was the first to realize that there are no coincidences in this world. It was Abraham who finally said enough is enough. There is a Creator, there is Someone in charge. According to tradition, the locals tried to kill Abraham but he was miraculously saved.
How does God respond to a man who is 75 years old and declares to the world against all odds that there is a Creator? God appears to him. God tells him to leave, to go to a new place, a new land, where he will teach monotheism and morality to the world. God said: Go to the Land of Israel. It is a land I give to you and your descendants forever.
Abraham takes his wife and his nephew and leaves. Abraham’s first stop in Israel: “Shechem” in the heart of Samaria in what is mistakenly referred to as the “West Bank”. That’s right. The Jewish nation’s first settlement wasn’t in Tel Aviv or Haifa, it was in Judea and Samaria, the heart of the Jewish state. Once in Israel God made a covenant, referred to as “The Covenant between the parts” in which He showed Abraham signs and wonders that the land would belong to the Jewish people forever.
United with Israel did not begin this year or last year. United with Israel began in the Torah portion of “Lech Lecha” about 4000 years ago. There are thousands of Jewish immigrants every MONTH who are heeding the call of “Lech Lecha” and immigrating to Israel. In fact, all of the United with Israel staff are individuals and families who heeded the call of “Lech Lecha”. We encourage everyone to consider “Lech Lecha” and put moving to Israel on you things-to-do list!
From Lech Lecha to Eternity! The Land of Israel is the place for the People of Israel to observe the Torah of Israel that was given by the God of Israel.
Shabbat Shalom from Israel!
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
Please SHARE with your friends and family!