And HASHEM said to Avram: 'Go for yourself from your country, and from your
birthplace, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make your
name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those that bless
you, and those that curse you will I curse; and through you shall all the
families of the earth be blessed.' So Avram went, as HASHEM had spoken to
him; and Lot went with him; and Avram was seventy and five years old when he
departed from of Haran. And Avram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's
son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they
had made in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and
into the land of Canaan they came. And Avram passed through the land until
the place of Shechem, until Elon Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the
land. And HASHEM appeared to Avram, and said: 'Unto your seed will I give
this land'; and he built there an altar to HASHEM who appeared to him.
Two things are described in the beginning of Avramís journey. One of them
seems superfluous. The verse tells us that Lot joined in and went along with
Avram. The very next verse informs us that Avram took ďLot his brotherís
sonĒ. Why did the Torah have to tell us then and there that Lot was his
brotherís son? That was spelled out clearly just before. Also, why does the
narrative tell us that the Canaanites were then in the land before HASHEM
promised him and his children the land?
If the Torah was just listing for us who went on the trip why then it would
be unnecessary to repeat Lotís name on the captainís manifest. However, the
Torah is teaching us a few important points. Lot tagged along for his own
motive and Avram had his own reason for including his nephew. Lot, it seems
knew of the promise given by HASHEM of all the future blessings of wealth,
fame, and family. Avram had no children from his barren wife Sarai. Perhaps
he saw himself as the heir apparent to all those goodies. Therefore he came
Avram knew better. HASHEMís promise is real. He took Lot for a different
reason because he was his brotherís son. Who was his brother? What happened
with him? The verse at the end of Parshas Noach simply tells that ďHaran
died on the face of his father!Ē What happened to him? When Avraham was
captured by Nimrod for sedition, for the heresy of believing in a Single
G-d, he was cast into a furnace but Avraham understood that the same G-d
that could make fire burn could make fire not burn. There is none other than
Him! Thatís what happened. Avraham was miraculously spared.
Haran was offered the same ultimatum of acquiescing to idolatry or going
into a fire. He opted like Avraham but for a different reason. Since it
worked for his brother it would work for him. It didnít work. He was
consumed by and died in that fire.
The Sefas Emes explains that even though Haranís belief was not enough to
save him he was still included in the great Kiddush HSAHEM of dying for the
highest ideal. He evokes the sagely principal that ďHASHEM never fails to
pay the reward to any creatureĒ. Since Lot was his progeny, Avram understood
well that he is the bearer of all that future greatness. It is no mistake
then that from Lot and his daughters would come out Moab and Ammon and the
two doves, Rus and Naomis who would weave their way into the Davidic Dynasty
more than seven centuries later.
Avram arrived in the land where the imposing Canaanites that scared the
spies and intimidated an entire nation impressed with miracles and he was
visited by HASHEM who informed him of the fact that his children would
inherit the land. Avram had no children then, the Canaanites were dominating
the land but still he made a Kiddush because he saw with his mindís eye what
HASHEM had promised him. That way of looking through to the future -beyond
the tangible present, of seeing what will be in what is, is the same vision
that informed him of Lotís and lots of opportunities.