Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Lech Lecha

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"As for me, behold, my Covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations." [17:4]

The Medrash (in Parshas Vayeira) tells us that Avraham said that after he had circumcised himself, many converts came to join the covenant. The Bais HaLevi, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt"l of Brisk, points out that this seems illogical. We would expect just the contrary -- people should have stayed away because of the pain of circumcision!

In order to understand this Medrash, says the Bais HaLevi, we need to better understand the verse above.

Every person on the face of the earth has free will, and can choose good over evil. Everyone has the opportunity to be a good person, and the righteous of all nations are guaranteed a place in the World to Come. And yet, this recurs in each generation -- as we know, the fact that a person is righteous does not guarantee that his or her children will choose the same path.

The Covenant of Avraham is different. A person who is born into the Jewish people, even a sincere convert who later turns away from Judaism, remains a Jew. Even if he sins, he remains one of the Children of Israel. This stems from the Covenant of circumcision. Even though not all of Avraham's children, and not all of Yitzchak's children, followed that path and joined the same covenant (thus leaving Avraham the founder of nations, plural), the Jewish people was established with the Covenant. Today, it is no longer optional; one cannot refuse the birthright of this nation. And the idea that one could join a people, and steer his or her children into that same people for generations to come -- that was very attractive. That remains attractive today.

For all of the politics today about conversion, and the arguments about patrilineal descent, we must remember -- these arguments which threaten to divide us only bear upon a very small number of people (though it is growing). We all agree (or should) that those born into the Jewish people cannot be disqualified, dispatched, "delegitimized," as Jews. Were someone to attempt to do otherwise, it would cast aspersions upon our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and the Covenant which G-d made with them. We are fortunate to walk with eternity -- let us recognize it, every day, and learn to value every fellow member of the Covenant.


 
Sell Chometz Online


ARTICLES ON PESACH:

View Complete List

The Evil Son
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

All Alone
Shlomo Katz - 5768

To Be Chosen Again
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

ArtScroll

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Inherent and Essential Contradictions
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5770

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 2
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

What's With the Number Four?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Intimacy On A Higher Scale
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

This Night
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Tzafun-Nirtza
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Searching for the Chametz Within
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

> Break Free!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Pesach Weather
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

The Great Shabat
- 5773

Who Knows One?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information