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So Far Away

By: Rav Dani Abell

So Far Away

In Parshat Lech Lecha Avraham Avinu experiences countless challenges as he begins his quest in becoming one with G-d.  Avraham leaves everything behind to go to Eretz Yisrael, only to be faced by a near death experience in Egypt. In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Va’eira, Avraham’s challenges continue and peak, when he is commanded to sacrifice his son to G-d.   What is the significance of this final task and why is it the last of the challenges presented to Avraham Avinu?

The Beit Yaakov of Izbihtz explains the unique challenge of the Akiedah by focusing on four words found at the beginning of the Akeidah, ‘Vayar et HaMakom merachok- and he (Avraham) saw the place from afar.’  The simple meaning of these words explains that Avraham was traveling to the Temple Mount, to perform the Akeidah, and he saw it from afar.  The Beit Yaakov introduces a novel interpretation of these words.  He explains, that ‘HaMakom’ does not refer to the location of the Akeidah, but rather, it refers to one of G-d’s names.  Similar to the phrase from the Haggadah, ‘Baruch Hamakom Baruch Hu.’ Based on this explanation, we can begin to understand the magnitude of Avraham’s challenge. He was on his way to perform the ultimate sacrifice, in order to bring himself closer to G-d, and Avraham saw that G-d was far away.  This realization defines the challenge of the Akeidah.  Avraham approached the Akeidah with one goal, getting close to G-d, but He concealed Himself.  He denied Avraham of that closeness he deeply desired and for which he was willing to kill.   The real test was that G-d wanted to see if Avraham could serve Him even when he felt rejected and distanced from G-d.

Avraham persevered and succeeded.  It is this perseverance and triumph that defines the Jewish people, ensuring our survival.  From Avraham Avinu we learn that service of G-d cannot be dependent on ease or degree of enjoyment. There will be countless moments during which we experience what seems to be rejection. The Akeidah teaches us to use these moments, of perceived rejection, to confront and build ourselves.  When faced with a challenge, use it as an opportunity for growth, creating closeness and not distance between ourselves and the Ribono Shel Olam.

Shabbat Shalom





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