Dear Readers,

In this week’s parshah, we meet our forefather, Abraham. From his earliest age, he was a lone man fighting against the pervasive values, teaching a belief in G‑d and a moral life.

No sooner was this mighty one weaned, than his mind began to seek and wonder: How do the heavenly bodies circle without a moving force? Who turns them?

At the age of forty, Abraham recognized his Creator. … He began to debate with the people of Ur Casdim saying: “This is not the way of truth that you are following.” He smashed the idols and began to teach the people that it is only fitting to serve the One G‑d. …

When he began to defeat them with his arguments, the king wished to kill him; he was miraculously saved. He departed to Charan and continued to call in a great voice to the world, teaching them that there is One G‑d (Mishneh Torah, Laws Concerning Idol Worship 1:3).

When Abraham is 75 years old, G‑d calls him and tells him, “Go to you, from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.”

Abraham had already reached the full capacity of his conscious powers, so what is G‑d teaching him now?

G‑d shows him a higher part of himself. There is a higher self in man that lies beyond “his land, birthplace and father’s house,” and is free of all that defines and confines him. This higher self is beyond natural desires, the influence of our home or society and even our rational being. It is the spark of G‑d that is the core of his soul—the image of G‑d in which he was created.

This spark is within each of us, eternally connected to G‑d. It endures pogroms and holocausts, health scares and financial crisis, and sustains us through life’s many hardships.

There is an incredibly touching story recorded in the book Shevet Yehudah that describes the power of this Divine spark within each of us.

During the Spanish Expulsion in 1492, an old Chacham (“wise leader”) together with his family were fleeing for their lives. Suddenly, Arabs attacked, murdering his son-in-law and daughter before his eyes. Half-crazed from grief, the Chacham grabs his infant grandson and flees the desert. This baby was all that remained from his family.

Walking through the scorching desert sun, the Chacham faints. When he awakes, he sees that his grandson has died from thirst and dehydration. Numb with anguish, the Chacham digs a grave. As he is burying him, he turns his eyes heavenward and cries: “It is clear that there are forces above that are determined to alienate me from my G‑d. I say to you: Despite all your best efforts, I will remain a steadfast Jew!”

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW