In Parshat Lech Lecha, Avram and Lot start by going on a journey and growing together. After leaving their homelands and going down to Egypt because of a famine, Avram had to make a difficult decision and tell Lot that it is best if they go separate ways. Avram told Lot that one of them should go south and the other should go north because he doesn’t want fighting to occur between him and Lot and their shepherds. In addition, he adds that he does not want this fighting to occur because we are people, brothers: כִּֽי־אֲנָשִׁ֥ים אַחִ֖ים אֲנָֽחְנוּ (Breishit 13:8).
Why is the wording because we are both people and brothers? Why doesn’t it leave one out? I want to suggest two reasons.
I believe that one reason is to teach us that it is not only with a family member that you should try and always have peace. I think that the fact that it starts with people and not family is emphasizing how it may even be more important and that one should be more careful not to argue or resent another person. It might be easier for families to reconcile or have more respect for each other because they are family and feel a deeper obligation. When siblings are fighting it is usually about something stupid or jealousy, but with love. You have to work harder on keeping the peace between someone from outside the family. By keeping peace with someone from outside we are also showing the world what kind of human beings we are. We are showing that we are peaceful people and that it is not just our family who is important.
My second explanation complements this idea. We should realize that all of us are people and siblings of one another. We have an aspect that makes us unique and different but another part that brings us together. It is because we are both individuals and each other’s siblings that help us understand why we shouldn’t fight. We will have our differences and we must acknowledge that but at the end of the day, we are all family, from Adam and Eve. We want to show the world that we care about everyone even if we don’t agree with their ways. It doesn’t matter who you are but we want to do what is right and try to have peace. This is a peace that we should have in our communities, as Jews, and hopefully soon when Mashiach comes, with the whole world. We can start by being kind to everyone and making this message a reality.
By Shira Sedek