THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM


Saturday 20 October 2018 11 Cheshvan 5779

Parashat Lech L’chah

Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-17:27, Isaiah 40:27-41:16

Being a Man of Faith

In the Midrashic literature, the rabbis teach about the pivotal significance of God’s reign. The Kingdom of Heaven signifies God’s redemptive power and His rule over our lives encompasses the authority of the Torah. By the time the people of Israel had arrived at Sinai and received the Ten Commandments, they had already experienced the divine deliverance of God and His protection. Take for example what the rabbis say according to the Mekilta de-Rabbi Yishmael 20:2.

Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael 20:2

“I am the L-rd your G-d”: Why were the ten commandments not stated at the beginning of the Torah? An analogy: A man enters a province and says (to the inhabitants): I will rule over you. They respond: Did you do anything for us that you ould rule over us? Whereupon he builds the (city) wall for them, provides water for them, wages war for them, and then says: I will rule over you — whereupon they respond: Yes! Yes! Thus, the L-rd took Israel out of Egypt, split the sea for them, brought down manna for them, raised the well for them, brought in quail for them, waged war with Amalek for them, and then said to them: I will rule over you — whereupon they responded: Yes! Yes!

Rebbi says: (The thrust of “your [singular] G-d”) is to apprise us of the eminence of Israel, that when they all stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, they were all of one heart, to receive the kingdom of Heaven with joy. And, what is more, they all stood security for each other (for observance of the mitzvoth.) And not only over what was revealed alone did the Holy One Blessed be He appear to them (in Arvoth Moav, viz. Devarim 29:9) to forge a covenant with them, but even over what was concealed, as it is written (Devarim 29:28) “What is hidden (is known to) the L-rd our G-d, and what is revealed is for us and for our children forever” — this, by way of saying: Over what is revealed we will enter into a covenant with you, but not over what is concealed, so that one not sin in secret and the congregation be bound thereby.