May 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Have you ever made up your mind to start a project, turn over a new leaf or make this the year that you really mean to change your life? How many New Year’s resolutions are made in earnest but are never fully fulfilled? We all know personal examples of people who have planned aliyah to Israel for years, for example, but were sidetracked and never followed up.

At the end of last week’s parsha (11:31) we read that Terach, Avram’s father, packed up his family and belongings. He left Ur Kasdim and was ambitious to relocate to the Land of Canaan. He was going to get a fresh start on life. However, he only got halfway there, arriving in Charan, where he decided to settle. Meeting his goals halfway was good enough for Terach. He resided in Charan for the rest of his life and died there. It seems that he lived a life unfulfilled. He settled for a life of mediocrity.

This week’s parsha of Lech Lecha starts with Hashem assertively telling Avram to get up, get going, go all the way to Canaan. In effect, he was told, “Don’t settle for halfway measures. Go all the way and I will make you great. You will be an example and a blessing for everyone on Earth.”

Later in the parsha (15:5) we read how Avram had a series of setbacks. Hashem reminded him not to allow these mishaps to discourage him from fulfilling his mission. Avram was told that anytime he felt like giving up, all he needed to do was go outside and look at the many stars and constellations that were in the Heavens. Just as the stars were immeasurable, so too would be his blessings and ultimate success in life. “Avram trusted in God and he was credited as being righteous as a result.”

We read (II Samuel, Chap. 6) how David Hamelech (King David) was transporting the Ark of the covenant in a festive manner. All of a sudden they hit a bump in the road and it looked like the Ark was about to fall. Uzza, one of his aides, tried instinctively to steady it and was punished by God because mortal men were not allowed to touch the Ark with their bare hands. King David was so discouraged that he abandoned his transport project for three months. It was only after he saw how blessed the temporary caretakers of the Ark were that he renewed his enthusiasm and brought the Ark to Jerusalem with great fanfare.

There are times when we hit bumps in the road of life as well. We may lose a job, encounter health issues or have a financial setback. Our children may not turn out the way we expected. Our prayers to God may seem to go unanswered. It is at times like these that we need to take lessons from the heroes of the Torah. David Hamelech hit a bump in the road but was able to recover and go all the way, building the City of David and ensuring the presence of God therein. Avram had to fight many battles but went all the way, receiving the blessings of Hashem and being counted as a righteous person.

Psalm 23 reminds us that, although we may face troubles and tribulations in life, even traveling through the valley of the shadow of death, we have to stay strong and courageous, knowing that Hashem is with us. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is patience, faith and persistence.

So let us strive not to be like Avram’s father, Terach, settling for mediocrity in life. Rather, let us look at the beginning of Lech Lecha as a charge for all of us to go forth, be all we are meant to be and go all the way. In return, just like Avram, may Hashem bless us with success as immeasurable as the stars in the Heavens.

By Rabbi Dr. Avi Kuperberg


Rabbi Dr. Avi Kuperberg is a forensic, clinical psychologist in private practice. He is president of the Chai Riders Motorcycle Club of NY/NJ. He leads the Summit Avenue Shabbos Gemara shiur and minyan in Fair Lawn, NJ. He can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles