The Torah reminds us this week to step up to the plate and be the role models our children need!
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
This week’s Torah portion is “Lech Lecha” (Genesis 12:1-17:27). Among the many exciting stories in the reading is God’s commandment to Abraham to circumcise himself.
The commentators ask the question: In light of the fact that we are taught that Abraham observed the entire Torah, even the Rabbinical commandments, even though the Torah wasn’t given yet (yup, God gave him a sneak preview!), why did Abraham not fulfill the mitzva of bris, circumcision, before this point?
If he was already observing all the mitzvot on his own, why did he skip this one? Why did he wait for God to ask him to do this particular mitzva? In other words, “Why is this mitzvah different from all other mitzvot?”
It is explained that Abraham was hesitant to perform this mitzvah and waited for God to tell him to do so. The reason for this was that Abraham was in the “outreach business.” His life’s mission was to teach the idolaters in his time all about God and get them to believe in Him and worship Him.
Abraham was an “influencer” and an influencer can only influence people who can relate to him. Abraham was worried that if he circumcised himself people would think that he had gone mad and they would distance themselves from him.
And that would be the end of his outreach business!
This is why Abraham hesitated to perform this particular mitzva. But now it was time to do it. Not just because God told him so, but for another reason, as well.
Abraham was now 99 years old and he was about to have a son. Not just any son but a son who would be the next Patriarch of the Jewish people. Now, it wasn’t just about influencing other people, it was about influencing his own son, about influencing his own family, it was about preparing for the future.
Abraham now had to show his son what it means to listen to God and what it means to be a Jew even when suffering is involved. You can hesitate when it comes to teaching others. You cannot hesitate when it comes to teaching your children.
This is a vital message for parents. We are role models for our children and we have to show them the way. Our responsibilities as role models for others is one thing, but when it comes to serving as role models for our own children, it’s quite another.
Be sure to step up to the plate and be the best role model for your children that you can be!
For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below:
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