Parshat Lech Lecha introduces us to the first individual who was willing to say NO to the accepted norms of corruption and idolatry. He was able to knock down and drag the skeletons not only out of the closet, but out of the store that sold them. Detaching himself from the comforts of home, he led a campaign towards the establishment of a new organized movement in the world- monotheism. Carrying the card of faith as his banner, he made a noise in the world as many other people swelled the ranks and “jumped on the train” headed for the Holy Land. These were “The souls that they made in Haran”. Genesis 12:5 Avraham is the founding father of the sphere of chesed-lovingkindness. He initiates chesed, running here and there to improve the world through good deeds. G-d told him to go “to the Land” because the manifestation of G-d is a manifestation of the Holy Land as well. The Land of Israel is the chosen place where G-dliness is revealed.
Avraham started as one lone person, being the first believer. He is known as Avraham HaIvri from the word eiver, the other side. The Bereishit Raba brings down different reasons for this name. 1) Avraham is on one side of the world, and the rest of the world is on the other side (immersed in false beliefs). 2) Avraham comes from the line of Eiver 3) He came from the other side of the Euphrates River. He is also known as the founding father of the language Ivrit (Hebrew).When one wants to learn about faith, he should study it in the original language of the bible- Hebrew.
There are other personalities that stand out in their uniqueness called Ivrim. After his brothers sided against him, Yosef is sold to Egypt where he identifies himself as an Ivri. He does not assimilate, but shows integrity time after time in every test given him. The midwives are called Ivriyot and side against the evil decrees of Pharoh in order to preserve the Bnei Yisrael. And Jonah the prophet says : “I am an Ivri, and I fear the Lord of Heaven and earth”. Despite being raised in the house of Pharoh, Moshe Rabbeinu returns to his origins as an Ivri when he grows up and realizes who he really is.
Getting to the other side is trailblazing the road with belief in me’eiver, above and beyond the norms of what society says. Being an Ivri is first knowing there is a choice. It is saying “WOW” at how much more good there is in potential and actualizing it. It is being connected to that intuitive side that only faith can give, the ability to feel above time and space. It is wearing a uniform that says,” I have holy chutzpah” The attitude we have to the torah concepts in an age that has seen the return of Israel to Israel must change and reconnect to our “Ivri” identities, breaking the 2,000 years of norms applied to life in exile. And like Avraham, it is imperative first and foremost – that we believe! ( and get thee to the Land!)
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith