The Worthiness of Avraham

D'var Torah by Rabbi Jay Spero


The Worthiness of Avraham

Contact Rabbi Spero at 862-9546 or


This week’s portion speaks of a new era in the history of the world.

The Zohar (Kabbalistic work written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai 2000 years ago) explains that the history of mankind is 6000 years. The first 2000 years are years of desolation and void. The second 2000 years are years of Torah. The third 2000 is the time of the Messiah.

The second 2000 years coincides with the time of Avraham. What did Avraham do that made him worthy of not only ushering in the era of Torah, but of being called the forefather of the Jewish people?  

Avraham was born into a typical Semitic family of 4000 years ago. His family’s beliefs consisted of the worship of many gods and living life as it came at you, nothing more, nothing less. Avraham came to a realization that there is a much greater purpose to the world than this. He theorized about the creator and ruler of the world. Could it be the sun? The sun only expresses its dominion during the day. Maybe it is the rain? The wind? Fire? The problem with any of these elements being the ruler and creator of the world is they all have an inherent weakness: namely, they are susceptible to domination by another element (imagine a large scale game of paper, rock, scissors). He then came to the obvious conclusion that there is one all knowing creator (Why not conclude that the world was ruled by a conglomerate of gods and elements of nature?  Were this so, there would be no order in the world, no seasons, no accounting for day or night, etc).

After this realization he came to further realizations. If there is this Being who created the world, why did he do so? There obviously must be some sort of purpose. Life must have some meaning beyond surviving day by day.

He then took notice that this Being, G-d, provides for us, but only to a certain degree. The rest, Avraham figured out, is up to us to do. Avraham excelled in the character trait of lovingkindness. This was made manifest by his constant harboring of guests.  Not only did he provide for them physically, but also spiritually by nourishing their souls, i.e. explaining to them that life has purpose by introducing them to monotheism. This realization that life is meaningful and that man has a vocation in life made him worthy of being the father of the Jewish people (Thomas Cahill writes in A History of the Jews that Avraham was in fact the first person to introduce the concept of a vocation). In fact, Avraham started the process of making the Jewish people the chosen people. Avraham was the progenitor of the chosen people, because he chose G-d.


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