Thursday, October 10, 2013

Avraham's Pre-Revelation

Avraham's Pre-Revelation

Avraham had many revelations throughout his life; the Torah mentions just a few. The parsha begins with God speaking to Avraham and telling him to go somewhere, yet at the end of Noach we read the following verses:

לא וַיִּקַּח תֶּרַח אֶת-אַבְרָם בְּנוֹ, וְאֶת-לוֹט בֶּן-הָרָן בֶּן-בְּנוֹ, וְאֵת שָׂרַי כַּלָּתוֹ, אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם בְּנוֹ; וַיֵּצְאוּ אִתָּם מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים, לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן, וַיָּבֹאוּ עַד-חָרָן, וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם.

31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

This is quite strange since we would expect Avraham to start his journey to Eretz Canaan only AFTER the beginning of Parshat Lech Lecha when God tells him to go!
Much has been written about this.

One way to understand this is to consider the centripetal force of ‘Eretz Canaan’ even without the divine command. Teaches us about the magnetism of Eretz Yisrael even void of specific ‘Jewish religious’ significance. Israel is simply magnetic!

I would like to explore a different message one can glean from this ‘pre-journey’. Avraham had a revelation, not of the magnitude of parshat Lech Lecha, but perhaps a ‘mini’ prophecy descended upon him, one he would realize only after the more intensive, overt, revelation. Avraham ‘in parshat Lech Lecha’ started to piece together earlier experiences, inclinations, ‘inner voices’ which led him, his father, his family to go towards Eretz Canaan.

Indeed, Avram heard the word of God before Parshat lech Lecha but didn’t fully comprehend it. Only later did the blurry picture become clear.

Consider Avram’s ‘pre-revelations’ as our greatest spiritual experiences. We feel something special, we are inclined towards a more righteous lifestyle, we sense kedusha which leads us to go to Israel, become more involved, find the right guy to marry, revere our previous generations, try to make people’s lives better.

Perhaps the greatest of our generation are able to have clarity and piece together all their mini-revelations to some sublime whole. We however, should appreciate that for 75 years of Avraham’s life he sensed but could not put his finger on the exact nature of that energy. It nevertheless brought him closer to this magical land, gave him and his wife a mission, gave them the drive to ‘make souls’ and helped them create a family which would become the progenitors of this great nation.

We learn from the actions of Avraham and Sara, we attempt to emulate their experiences; yet at the same time we learn from their unknowns, the mysteriousness of their initial encounters with God, their triumphs as well as their failures, their closeness to God as well as their intangible connections and unanswered calls.