Insights to Parsha Lech lecha "Go for yourself"
Brit Milah the Covenant from Genesis 17
Parshat Lech Lecha
In this parsha (section) Avram is commanded to leave Ur of the Kasdim, which is in modern day Iraq and separate from his family, father and homeland and leave everything behind for the mission that HaShem (G-d) commanded Avram. The words “Lech Lecha” are very powerful words that HaShem had spoken to Avram.
“Lech Lecha” in Hebrew has two possible meanings. The first one is to go for yourself, in other words to go for your own good, by separating yourself from the idolatry that surrounds you.
The other possible meaning is to go to yourself, meaning to take a look inside and consider deeply what you are being commanded to commit yourself to, since you will have to leave everything behind.
Verse 12:2, HaShem tells Avram that he will be a blessing. Anyone that follows a righteous lifestyle ends up being a blessing for anyone that is looking towards that righteousness as a guide. Truly Avram was one of the biggest blessings that the world has ever known.
Verse 12:3, HaShem says that he will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you. This is interesting because a lot of people look at this to refer to the descendents of Avram as well. However, they only look at the Jew. Those people should be careful. Avram had more than one son. Yitzach (Isaac) was one of the patriarchs for the Jewish people and Yishmael (Ishmael) was one for the Arabs. Do not confuse Islamic people for Arabs. Not all Arabs are Muslims, I have met many Arabs that were Christians or even Jewish by faith, and most Muslims are not even remotely Arab. Be cautious when speaking of the Arabs, since HaShem told Hagar that Yishmael has a special place for his descendents, (12 princes) when HaShem saved Yishmael and Hagar in the desert.
According to Rashi where it says in verse 12:5 “The souls that they made in Haran” refers to the converts that Avraham and Sarah helped convert from their pagan idolatry to a belief in HaShem.
Avraham was 75 when he left Haran and came towards Canaan. So how old was he when he went to Egypt? Sarah is ten years younger, so she was around 65 when they left Haran, so when they went to Egypt she was between 65 and 80, which is an old woman, yet so beautiful that the Pharaoh tried to take her for himself. This just makes me wonder how beautiful she was when she was in her twenties, or what radiance her faith projected from her to make he so beautiful.
Verse 14:18 speaks about Melchizedek; the Midrash explains this to be Shem one of Noach’s Sons that survived the flood with him. This person in very mysterious because the scripture says that he had no beginning and no ending. What does anyone really know about Melchizedek? We know that he was the king of Shalem, and during this time in history this refers to the city of Yerushalem (Jerusalem), and we know that his name means the righteous King which is an awesome name, and we know that he is a Priest. We do not know much else. There are a lot of theological philosophies that spring up because of this.
One thought is that he represents the Priesthood which is in HaShem realm and that which is what the Levitical Priesthoods is a mirror image.
There is mentioned of a covenant between HaShem and Avram in chapter 15 and another one in chapter 17. For the longest time it seemed to me that they are two aspects of the same covenant which might be true, however recently upon a very close reading it appears to me that it might be two different covenants. The first one in chapter 15 is a covenant of HaShem where he promises to Avram that he will give him the land of Canaan. A sacrifice was made and the vision of HaShem walked through the parts. However, there is something strange about this, since in those days both parties to the covenant would have to walk through the parts. In this story Avram does not walk through the parts. In addition, Avram did not have his name changed at this point. This is a covenant about HaShem’s land that Avram and his descendents will become its stewards.
In chapter 17, Avram circumcised himself at 99 years old, and his son Yishmael at 13 years old. In this chapter HaShem says to Avram in verse 17:2, “I will set My Covenant between Me and you, and I will increase you most exceedingly”. This is a covenant about Avram’s descendents and at this time his name is changed from Avram to Avraham adding in the “H” to represent the letter from HaShem’s unpronounceable name, and since Avraham would be the father of many nations, with the word for multitude being “Hamon”, this word of course starting with the letter “H”. The covenant is different from the one in 15, because this covenant in verse 17:8 says, “and I shall be a G-d to them.” The sign of this covenant is that of circumcision, and it says in verse 17:13 that the covenant is an everlasting covenant, and when HaShem says everlasting to me that means everlasting.
Now how do we know that this covenant refers to the Jews and not the Arabs, it is because there is reference to the people going down into bondage. This was the history of the Jews and not the Arabs. So this refers to the G-d of the Jews, but remember they both have the same G-d and this is shown later when Yitro (Jethro) the father in law of Moshe (Moses) obviously knows about HaShem when they meet each other.
This Parsha has several deep insights, so search them out and pay attention to the detail and you will learn something you did not know the last time you read it.