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The First Jew

The First Jew


A Jew is a journeyer. To be a Jew is to be constantly moving from what you are to what you can be, and from what you have made of yourself to yet a deeper truth of what you are. To be a Jew is to be engaged in a perpetual quest to improve yourself and improve G‑d's world; to transcend the world and transcend your self; to transcend even as you improve and to improve even as you transcend.

A Jew is a prophet. To be a Jew is to be engaged in a lifelong conversation with G‑d: to daily present before G‑d your questions and your needs, your grievances and your aspirations; and to listen carefully to what G‑d desires of you.

A Jew is a faithful servant. To be a Jew is to do good not only because it gains you material or spiritual reward; not only because it makes sense or feels right to do so; but, first and foremost, because G‑d so commanded.

NEARLY 3,800 YEARS AGO there lived a man named Abram. Before his time there were righteous men and women, teachers and gurus, activists and do-gooders. But they were not Jews. Abram himself was, for many years, a teacher and spiritual guide, a champion of justice and truth, a bestower of charity and kindness. But he wasn't a Jew. Not yet.

Then, in Abram's 75th year, he heard and responded to the divine call, Lech lecha me'artzecha, me'moladetecha, ume'beit avicha, el haaretz asher areka...

This is what G‑d said to Abram (translated into English): "Go, you, from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you."

G‑d also said (as per the Kabbalistic interpretation of the above-quoted Hebrew words and phrases): "Go to your innermost self: move away from your will, from your feelings, and from your intellect, to the desire that I will reveal to you."

Thus Abram became Abraham, the first Jew.

By Yanki Tauber; based on the teachings of the Rebbe.
Image by chassidic artist Shoshannah Brombacher. To view or purchase Ms. Brombacher’s art, click here.
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Anonymous New Westminster, BC, CDA October 27, 2012

The First Jew? Would it not be more correct to say that Abram (Abraham) was the first Hebrew? It has been my understanding that term"Jew" came from the tribe Judah (one of Jacob's sons) . I came to your article by the way of another article "Was Abraham Jewish?" Reply

mind the jew China November 11, 2005

the jew in me Yes, i been the journeyer jew, and the prophetic jew, but hav'nt been the faith servant yet, and i find myself walking towards that role, i was very lonely, to live and be conscious about the jew inside me, it aches my heart that i don't connet with those who live around me in such a depth that i had been digging, this well, overflowing of love, inside me.

so i had kept comming back to you, so taht i will share a sheer consciousness - that element of emuna, so much so that i can walk on, a lonesome sojourner. Reply

Likeable non Jew Leeds, England. UK November 7, 2005

Abraham. I visualise Abraham as a Burl Ives type of character who's noticed and witnessed a great deal of injustice, slavery, poverty and racism, Being stubborn and proud he took to the road, not on horsback, or in a car or chariot, nor in a greyhound bus, but on foot. This was a man who most definitely hungered and thirsted after righteouness. This was a man who claimed Israel and oversaw its planting with flowers, trees and crops and whose children were created equal throughout the Land. Abraham's sweat created the River Jordan and don't let let anyone tell you otherwise. Reply

Anonymous November 6, 2005

Can you explain how the original text and the kabbalistic interpretation are connected. Reply

Eric S. Kingston North Hollywood, CA November 6, 2005

Faith The main thing of this article is about how deep our faith is. Remember, G-d says to Abraham, "Go and I will show." G-d does not "show" first. In other words, G-d is really asking, not saying, to Abraham, "Do you have the faith? Is it deep enough?" But really, G-d already knows Abraham has the faith, so G-d doesn't have to show him. Unfortunately, many of us are waiting around to see the Blazing Bush to implement such depth of faith. Reply

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