Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Lech Lecha

Jews On the Move

Our father Avraham is a wanderer. All of his life he moves from place to place driven by his inner voice to spread the message of the one God in the world and other times by Divine command itself. In this, as in all other matters, he is the harbinger of the wanderings of his children throughout the ages. The Jewish people are a people of wanderers, moving restlessly from one country and continent to another.

There have been numerous reasons given to this Jewish restlessness. The most obvious one is the attempt to escape poverty and persecution and find a better life for one’s self and family. However there have been spiritual reasons also advanced for this phenomenon of constant movement. One is in order to acquire righteous converts from the souls of non-Jews who really wished to accept the Torah when offered to the world before Sinai but whose voices were drowned out in the noise of the general “no” of their fellows.

A more kabbalistic reason was offered for the Jewish wanderings. It stated that there are scattered throughout the world holy “sparks” – nitzozot - that are enclosed in imprisoning “husks” – klipot – and that those “sparks” can only be released through the positive and holy behavior of Jews who are then physically present there. Another explanation advanced for the scattering and wandering of the Jewish people is that this is somehow a guarantee of Jewish survival. It allows Jews to escape from annihilation in certain areas of the world by moving somewhere else.

Undoubtedly all of these reasons have validity to them. However, the bottom line to all of this is that Jews follow in the footsteps of our father Avraham and are constantly mobile and on the move.

Again like our father Avraham, Jews have had a profound influence on all areas of the world where they have lived. Avraham, a lonely, single, unique individual, single-handedly changed the course of human civilization. The prophet Yeshayahu described Avraham as being one of a kind. Well, that description fits all of Israel as well. A small, persecuted, unique people, Jews have contributed to all facets of human civilization in a grossly disproportionate manner.

This is in fulfillment of God’s promise to Avraham in this week’s parsha that “through you all of the families of the world will be blessed.” Perhaps it is the very wanderings and restlessness of Jews that has contributed to this unnatural outpouring of talent and contribution to all of human society. A sedentary people rarely look for new adventures or inventions. It is usually very self-satisfied with what it already has. Immigrant-built nations like the United States and Israel have pushed the envelope of technology and creativity forward more than the sedate and established powers of the Old World.

The common wisdom in life is “If it is not broken, then why fix it?” The Jewish people, always striving for perfection and utopian achievement, constantly view the world and society as still somehow broken and therefore in need of fixing. If we no longer wander geographically now that we are home in Israel, we still wander in our souls and minds in search of greater perfection and spirituality. We cannot help but to do so. It is in the genes that our father Avraham transmitted to us.

Shabat shalom.

Rabbi Berel Wein


Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com

Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON HAAZINU AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Mankind's Song
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Developing Our Sixth Sense
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

A Little Self-Control Goes a Long Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Rosh Hashana and the Kiss of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

The Gift of Time
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Teshuva 101
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

> The Epitome of G-d's Kindness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

That Ancient Memory
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Call of the Shofar
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

ArtScroll

Echoes from Heaven
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

The Kindness of Hashem
Shlomo Katz - 5759

An Opportunity Not To Be Missed
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Parenting By Example
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Found Innocent
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

The Month of Elul: Customs
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Lessons on Prayer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760



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