Lech Lecha – No-Adjective Avram
written by Sharon Katz
I remember learning many years ago from my beloved Torah teacher Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, o’h, that Abraham entered the world quietly, sans fanfare. “Hashem said to Avram, ‘Lech lecha’ (go for yourself)”. (Genesis 12:1) That’s it. Not, Hashem said to His faithful servant, Hashem spoke to His beloved friend, Hashem called to Avraham the man who walked with G-d. Simply “Hashem said to Avram, ‘Lech lecha’.” And so goes no-adjective Avram – no questions, no hesitations. He and his family pack their bags and go.
What a contrast to last week’s Torah portion when we read, “These are the offspring of Noah – Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations, Noah walked with G-d.” (Genesis 6:9) And yet Rashi said that if the waters of the deluge hadn’t reached Noah’s ankles, he wouldn’t have walked into the Ark that Hashem commanded him to build.
Avram faced Nimrod “a mighty man on earth”, the all-powerful kings Pharoah and Avimelech, as well as the kings of the Jordan Valley, Malki-Tzedek priest of G-d the Most High, plus students and angels and an ungrateful nephew.
And he remained Avram. No-adjective Avram who rejected idolatry; who left his home for the Promised Land; who cared for an orphan; who raised up students; who rescued captives; who practiced hospitality; who heard and obeyed the word of G-d unhesitatingly.
Avram is not described by adjectives, but by his deeds.
When he is finally described as “Avram HaIvri”, we are to understand that he is a man alone, standing on the other side of a corrupted society. Avram rejected an immoral world, and was ready to endure loneliness to live a principled life.
In our upcoming production of “COUNT THE STARS – The Journey of Avraham and Sara”, Avraham explains to his nephew Lot that if they stand up for justice and goodness, “even if we stand alone in the world, we are standing in the right place.”
And yet, he was never alone. Hashem was with Avram in Ur Kasdim, on his journey to the land of Canaan, on his detour to Egypt, in Shechem, in Beit El and Gerar. Hashem was with him always, just as He has been with the Jewish people throughout exile and eternity.
Ultimately, he goes from being the lonely Avram HaIvri to Avraham “a father of a multitude of nations” whose many offspring (like the stars in the heavens) will receive not only “the whole land of Canaan – as an everlasting possession”, but Hashem as their G-d forever.
It’s this unforgettable epic story that will be told on stage by the Women’s Performance Community of Jerusalem and OU Israel’s production of “COUNT THE STARS”. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll sing and dance out of the theater. A singing Avram and Sara? Yes. You’ll love it.
Outdoor Photos by Rebbeca Kowalsky, www.imagesthroughtime.com