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Shabbat Commentary

27/28 Oct: Shabbat Lech Lecha comes in 5:28 pm, goes out 6:29 pm

Many commentators take note of the multiple phrases in G-d’s command: “The Lord said to Avram, ‘Go from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). There wasn’t any real need for all of this; G-d could have simply said “Go to the land that I will show you.” One of the most interesting comments on the form of G-d’s command comes from the Malbim (R. Meir Lebush ben Yehiel Michal, Russia 19th C.), who explores the psychology inherent in what Avram is doing:

“The point of this leaving [that G-d commanded] was that [Avram] should separate from their ways and from their corrupt deeds, because a person will acquire [such] attributes and characteristics from the land, from its atmosphere and temperament and fortunes; from the city in which he lives and the place of his birth, where he learns customs and patterns of behaviour; and from his father’s house.

And G-d’s command was that his physical exit should also be a mental exit – that he should separate himself from the nature of his land with its bad atmosphere, and from the ways of the people of his birthplace, and also from love of his father’s house, and thus the order [of the verse] was fixed: from his land first, as it is easier to forget one’s land than the place of one’s birth, and easier to forget one’s place of birth than one’s family.”

Written by

Rabbi Paul Arberman.

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October 26, 2017