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Parashas Lech Lecha
Fight Chilul Hashem
"Look at this beautiful pasture land." Let us graze our cattle here."
"That is a wonderful idea."
And so, the shepherds relaxed while their cows contentedly ate the grass. Everything was peaceful until another group of shepherds came along.
"Shepherds of Lot! You must stop what you are doing right now. You cannot let your cows graze on this land. It is not Lot's land."
"Shepherds of Avram! Who are you to criticize us? Mind your own business. We are in the land of Canaan, which Hashem gave to Avram. He has no sons to inherit his land; therefore, Lot will receive it. We are not stealing from anyone."
"The land dies not yet belong to our Master Avram. You are stealing and you must stop right now."
And so, a fight ensued between the shepherds of Lot and the shepherds of Avram. This was bad enough. However, the HaEmek Davar explains that it did not stop there.
"And Avram said to Lot, 'Please let there be no strife between me and you, and between my shepherds and your shepherds, for we are family'" (Bereshis 13:8). Avram explained to Lot that he had no guarantee that the fight between their shepherds would not spread to Avram and Lot themselves. The masters would disagree in a civilized manner. However, the shepherds would speak very sharply and denigrate each other.
"And the Canaani and the Perizzi were then dwelling in the land" (Bereshis 13:7). The HaEmek Davar continues to explain that this fight caused a Chilul Hashem (desecration of Hashem's Name). The nations knew of Avram's greatness and holiness. They knew that everything that he did was Lishaim Hashem (for the sake of Hashem's Name). How ironic that the Canaani and the Perizzi nations lived peacefully with each other, yet within the nation of Hashem there was fighting. This was a Chilul Hashem and Avram could bear it no longer. He separated from Lot in order to stop the fighting and Chilul Hashem.
Kinderlach . . .
Machlokes (strife) is terrible. The fight itself is aggravating, and it can lead to loshon hora, curses, poverty, and sickness. Now we see that machlokes can also lead to Chilul Hashem. This sin is so bad, that even death cannot atone for it. We are Hashem's chosen people - an example to the world. When we fight, we become a bad example. Hashem's Holy Name is tarnished. A terrible sin. What is the remedy? Nip the machlokes in the bud. Listen to the other side and consider what they have to say. Compromise whenever possible. Promote peace and make a Kiddush Hashem!
"May we please have absolute quiet? The experiment is about to begin."
The huge auditorium was filled with hundreds of scientists, each one an expert in his field. In the center of the hall stood the latest super-hi-technology equipment. It was specially designed and constructed by these scientists for this experiment. All stood quietly, waiting for the head professor.
"Here we have a live mosquito. We will now place it in this chamber filled with poison. The mosquito will die, but its body will not be damaged. We will then take its body, hook it up to the equipment, and turn on the electrical current. We hope to see the mosquito come back to life."
Everyone watched intently on the giant video screen, as the little mosquito breathed its last breath. The delicate forceps then took its tiny legs and placed them on the electrodes. Its head was supported in semiconductor gel. Slowly the current began to flow through the electrodes.
"This is the big moment. We have worked for thirteen years and invested billions of dollars in this experiment. The mosquito must come back to life."
The current was increased to the maximum flow. All eyes were focused on the tiny mosquito. He lay there motionless. Everyone held their breath. Everyone, except the mosquito. He was dead and he would stay dead. Scientists can dream on, but only Hashem can create life.
"If you will gather everyone in the world together to create even one mosquito, they will not be able to give him a living soul" (Medrash Rabba 39:14). Man cannot create life. That is the sole province of Hashem. Yet the verse states, "And (Avram took with him) the souls which he made in Charan (Bereshis 12:5). How did Avram create souls? These souls were the people whom he brought close to Hashem. When you mekarev someone (bring him close) to Hashem, you give him life. He was previously living for his body, which is finite and will die. He is now living for his soul, which will exist for an eternity in the World to Come.
Kinderlach . . .
Bring people close to Hashem. Help those who are distant from Torah and Mitzvos. Be nice to them. Show them the beauty of Torah. Be a good example of its teachings. Help them in any way you can. You are giving them life. True life. Eternal life. A Torah life.
· Which land did Lot choose to live in? (13:11)
· How many years did the kings rebel against Kardilomer? (14:5)
· Who informed Avram that Lot was captured? (14:13 and Rashi)
· Give three meanings of the word "Damasek" (Rashi 15:2)
· What did Hashem promise to Avram at Bris-Ben-Habesarim? (15:18-21)
· What was Yishmael destined to be? (16:12) · What is the meaning of the name Avraham? (17:4-5)
Kinder Torah Copyright 2003 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
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