1. As we prepare for Parshas Lech Lecha, a Parsha which is actually the beginning of Avraham Avinu and Klal Yisrael. I would like to begin with just an insight into Lech Lecha. Lech Lecha – Rashi tells us that the Derech of somebody who travels is that it is M’ma’ait, it makes him have less success in all areas of life. That is why when Avraham Avinu traveled, the Ribbono Shel Olam compensated by giving him a Beracha despite the fact that he would leave. That is what Rashi says on 12:2 (לפי שהדרך גורמת לשלשה דברים, ממעטת פריה ורביה, וממעטת את הממון, וממעטת את השם). This idea that where a person is all of his life he is most comfortable, is the place where he has the greatest Hatzlacha is an important lesson for our generation.
There was an incident many years ago, where a man in Eretz Yisrael needed serious surgery and he was advised by the Chazon Ish to travel to Belgium for the surgery as there was an excellent surgeon there. This is despite the fact that in Eretz Yisrael his surgery would be free as he was covered by the Kupat L’eumi and if he would go to Belgium he would have to pay a lot of money for the surgery. Nevertheless, the Chazon Ish said to go to the better doctor.
A few days later this man came back to the Chazon Ish very excited and wanted a Beracha. He said Hashgacha Pratis. That surgeon will be in Eretz Yisrael in the coming week and he has agreed to do the surgery for me here in Eretz Yisrael. The Chazon Ish said to him no don’t do the surgery here. Wait until he gets back to Belgium. He should do it in the place that he normally does the surgery. A person in his usual surroundings does a better job. Therefore, the Chazon Ish told him despite the cost, this is Pikuach Nefesh, let him do the surgery in the place that he is most comfortable. The Chazon Ish is actually a Gemara in Bava Kamma which says that when one person damages another he cannot compel him to go to a doctor out of his normal place. A doctor in his normal place performs better.
This is true in general about all of us. When we are in our normal surroundings and content in our normal surroundings we perform the best. The custom today of Bachurim to travel to different Yeshivas and switch from one place to another on a constant basis is not something that is really conducive to a person having Hatzlacha in learning. Sometimes a person has to change, I am not categorically ruling it out. But the fact that people are constantly changing and switching, it takes away this idea of where a person is comfortable and where a person belongs.
It’s a psychology, it’s the mentality of Americans to not be content where they are. To move and go from one place to look for things better. Rav Pam used to say, by Ana Hashem Hoshia Na we Shukkle the Lulav. By Ana Hashem Hatzlicha Na we don’t Shukkle the Lulav. He said that is a metaphor for life. If you are in trouble and you need a Yeshua, move, Shukkle.
Ana Hashem Hatzlicha Na, you want more Hatzlacha? Stay where you are. Don’t start Shukkling and moving just for more Hatzlacha. The fact that you stay in one place is itself a tremendous Yeshua. Rav Pam would often say you’re looking for the city of happiness? The city of happiness is in the state of mind. Where you are, be content. Be happy with what you have. Your eyes shouldn’t be looking all over the place. It is not Mussar, it is good advice. Haderech Mima’etes. It is the lesson of the first Nisayon that Avraham Avinu had to move from where he was. Moving is not simple.
2. Let’s move on to a second thought. In the Navi Shiur, today we are learning Sefer Yehoshua in Perek 24 which is Yehoshua’s last gathering of Klal Yisrael. He is Kores Bris, he makes a final farewell Bris with them and where does he do it? In Shechem. Not in Shilo where the Mishkan was, but in Shechem. Why in Shechem?
The Radak writes in the beginning of Perek 24 from our Parsha that can be found in 12:6 (וַיַּעֲבֹר אַבְרָם, בָּאָרֶץ, עַד מְקוֹם שְׁכֶם). The first place that a Jew (Avraham Avinu) resided was in Shechem, that is the place of Haschala, that is a place of beginning and so therefore, Yehoshua who was being Kores Bris with the Jews as the first generation Jews came to Eretz Yisrael he made the Krisus Bris in the same place in Shechem.
The Radak adds that we find later that Yaakov Avinu, the first place that he purchases land was in Shechem. Ad Kan the Radak. But this is a question. Shechem is called a city Hamuchan L’puronios. Shechem is called a city that is very challenging to live in. Why should Shechem be the first place that Avraham Avinu and later Yaakov Avinu are located in Eretz Yisrael. The first place Avraham resides, the first place that Yaakov purchases. I don’t know, but Ulai this is a source for the Chazal that Eretz Yisrael is Nikneh B’yissurin. That someone who goes to Eretz Yisrael is Nikneh B’yissurin, he comes there and he is challenged. Avraham Avinu came and he was challenged with a hunger. Eretz Yisrael is Nikneh B’yissurin. It starts in Shechem in a place that doesn’t always have the best results.
Rav Yonason Eibeshutz writes that when Avraham Avinu came, he was ridiculed. He was told you are coming here and telling everyone to serve G-d, Hashem told you to come here? Look there is a famine. You don’t have what to eat!
Zagt Rav Yonason Eibeshutz, the Ribbono Shel Olam is not looking for fair weather friends. The people who go to Eretz Yisrael because things are wonderful there, things are easy there. If you are going because you are a fair weather friend and when it gets rough you give up. A friend is someone who sticks with you through thick and thin, through difficulty. Eretz Yisrael is Nikneh B’yissurin. People who go to Eretz Yisrael, Hashem Yishmor Osam. It starts with difficulty, that is the Yissurin of the Haschala and like Avraham Avinu, he had the Nisyonos and he passed them and afterwards he had a wonderful life. Kain Hein Hadevarim. And so, one lesson from Lech Lecha and one lesson from (וַיַּעֲבֹר אַבְרָם, בָּאָרֶץ, עַד מְקוֹם שְׁכֶם) and now a global lesson on this week’s Parsha.
3. This comes from a Sefer B’air Ra’i in which he collects that in this week’s Parsha we find for the first time numerous places where the Posuk says something Al Sheim Ha’asid. The Posuk talks about things that happen using terminology of things that happen in the future.
We had occasionally in Beraishis a reference to a place that had a name that was given later. But here is the first time that we have things that actually happen Al Sheim Ha’asid. I could enumerate seven such places in this week’s Parsha.
In 12:6 the Posuk I just mentioned (וַיַּעֲבֹר אַבְרָם, בָּאָרֶץ, עַד מְקוֹם שְׁכֶם). Rashi says why did he go there? (להתפלל על בני יעקב). Because of something in the future.
It also says in the same Posuk (עַד אֵלוֹן מוֹרֶה). Again Rashi tells us Al Sheim Ha’asid that Har Grizim and Har Eival are there. When you go to Shechem you can see Har Grizim and Har Eival in the distance. So once again the Posuk that describes Avraham’s travel is Al Sheim Ha’asid.
In 12:8 (וַיִּבֶן-שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ). Rashi says (נתנבא שעתידין בניו להכשל שם על עון עכן). It was again something that would happen in the future that caused Avraham’s behavior.
In 14:3 (הוּא, יָם הַמֶּלַח). Rashi says (לאחר זמן נמשך הים לתוכו ונעשה ים המלח). Again, referring to something in the future.
14:7 (וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל-עֵין מִשְׁפָּט, הִוא קָדֵשׁ). Rashi says Al Sheim Ha’asid. Why is this place called (עֵין מִשְׁפָּט)? (שעתידין משה ואהרן להשפט שם על עסקי אותו העין, והם מי מריבה). That is the place of Mai Miriva.
14:14 (וַיִּרְדֹּף, עַד-דָּן). He ran until Dan. Rashi says (שם תשש כחו שראה שעתידין בניו להעמיד שם עגל). He saw in the future that that would be a place called Dan where there would be an Eigel Ha’zahav.
14:15 (עַד-חוֹבָה). Again Rashi says (חוֹבָה) is a place because it would have Din.
My point is that we have numerous Pesukim when we first meet Avraham Avinu of things that happened Al Sheim Ha’asid. Of something that will happen in the future.
The Gemara in Maseches Kesuvos 10b (15 lines from the bottom) says (ומי כתב קרא לעתיד) does it say Pesukim Al Sheim Ha’asid? The Gemara brings a Posuk. Why is the Gemara Matmia (ומי כתב קרא לעתיד)? We find by Avraham Avinu plenty of references of things that he does Al Sheim Ha’asid?
For this I would like to share with you a thought which may explain why it happens frequently by Avraham Avinu and why the Gemara in Kesuvos doesn’t go to Avraham Avinu as the source and it goes to a Posuk in Beraishis as the source (דכתיב ושם הנהר השלישי חדקל הוא ההולך קדמת אשור). Because by Avraham Avinu and Klal Yisrael it is not a Chiddush that things happen Al Sheim Ha’asid.
Over Sukkos I heard of a Yesod that Rav Hutner said often. As far as I know it is not found in the Pachad Yitzchok although it is in the Mamarim of his son in law Rav Yonason David. The Yesod is the concept of Ohr Hachozeir. Ohr Hachozeir literally means a reflecting light. Rav Hutner said that Klal Yisrael is Chativa Achas, one big unit. Not only in space, not only different people, but the past, present and the future is all one story of Klal Yisrael. The future, the things that will happen later shine back on the past, affect the past. Outside of the normal boundaries of time, something that will take place in the future has its own importance, its own references, its own Shaychus to something that is in the present. It is called Ohr Hachozeir.
The best example is in Chazal where a certain location has a Zechus or a challenge because of something that will happen in the future. In our lives we know that there are times where future events, after they happen are seen as something that was led up to with a tremendous Siyata Dishmaya. Ohr Hachozeir is an ability of future events to affect past events. Exactly how that applies in a person’s life I don’t know because we live in the present and not in the future. But in learning Divrei Chazal and Divrei Hanavi and Chumash, and seeing the story of Avraham Avinu and how intertwined it was with things that would happen to his descendants years later, we see an extraordinary plan of the existence of Klal Yisrael through the generations, through all of the years that go by. We hope that there will be Siyata Dishmaya where we will come to see the ultimate plan.
The ultimate plan, Rav Chaim Volozhiner said that the last station will be America. There has to be Torah in America for Moshiach to come. These are things we hope to see as one big picture.
4. Let me end with a question of the week. At the beginning of the Parsha in 12:3 (וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר). Hashem says to Avraham Avinu I will bless those that bless you and curse those who curse you. The Posuk ends (וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ, כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה). Rashi says that people will say to their children you should be like Avraham Avinu. (וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ, כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה).
The question is if all (מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה) will say to their children you should be like Avraham then who are the (וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר) who are the people who curse that Hashem will curse. If everyone is saying to this child be like Avraham? It is really a trick question. Maybe someone will come up with the answer. It sounds like a good question.
Wishing absolutely everybody a wonderful Shabbos and a meaningful Shabbos!