FMT – Lech Lecha 5782 – “Fortunate Are Your Children……”

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And G-d said to Abram, “Go for yourself from your land…” (12:1) King Solomon tells us (Proverbs 20:7), “When the righteous man progresses in his excellence, fortunate are his children after him.” Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin explains that the commendable characteristics and practices a righteous man develops within himself are easily passed on to his children. The righteous man himself may have experienced tremendous difficulty before achieving his exalted state, but once the characteristics and virtues have become part of his very nature, they are passed on automatically to his children. They can reach those same levels with a minimum effort, because everything is already ingrained within them. They need only choose to activate it. This explains how countless simple people throughout the generations have found it within themselves to sacrifice their lives al Kiddush Hashem rather than violate a single word of the Holy Torah. How is this kind of heroism engendered? How are people neither learned nor great thinkers capable of attaining such a high level of devotion to G-d? The answer lies in the lives of our Patriarchs. When Abraham successfully passed the Ten Tests administered by G-d, he molded a national character for the Jewish people which would survive for all time. By permitting himself to be cast into Nimrod’s furnace rather than enounce his belief in the one true G-d, he established in himself and in his offspring the characteristic of a devotion to G-d more precious than life itself. In enduring the famine in Canaan, he established the characteristic of unquestioning acceptance of the ways of G-d. And so on. Indeed, we often see a Jew suddenly seized with an impulse to uproot himself and move to Israel. This impulse, too, is the legacy of Abraham, who uprooted himself and headed for that unknown land that G -d had promised to show him.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Jonathan Horowitz