The Worthiness of Avraham
Worthiness of Avraham
week’s portion speaks of a new era in the history of the world.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.