Parsha Lech – Lecha
Bereishit (Genesis 12:1 – 17:27
Brit Chadashah John (Yochanan) 8:12-59
Rabbi Cliff Maynard
Senior Rabbi – Rock of Israel Congregation
Vice President – National Jewish Fellowship of the AG
This week our parsha (Torah Portion) focuses on our “father” (avInu) Avram (Abraham). G-d tells him to “Go,” “Leave” …G-d said to Avram, “Go from your land, your birthplace, and your father’s house, to the land which I will show you. I will make you into a great nation; I will bless you and I will make your name great. You will be a blessing, [and] I will bless those who bless you; the one who curses you, I will curse. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Bereishis) Genesis 12:1-3)
It would be enough If I just focused on those three verses, yet I would be remiss if I did not give the background of how and why Avram Avinu (Abraham our father) got to this point with the Almighty. After all, you already have the Who, What and Where encapsulated within verses 1-3, but what about (as Paul Harvey used to say) “The Rest Of The Story”?
THE HOW AND WHY?
To bring insight, we will take into account the Midrash, which is the body of Jewish ancestral stories passed down by the rabbinical Sages to help “fill in the gaps” of events and personalities in a narrative form. It was considered a part of the “Oral” instruction that was given on Mt. Sinai to explain and give meaning to the 613 instructions. I should interject here, that there is much discussion on the subject of the “Oral Law”, and that it is not my intention in this article to add or detract to it’s validity by using the following story. I will however tell you that the Jewish women to teach the children Torah used the Midrash. The following story has been passed down from my ancestors for generations.
So, to bring us back into focus of what I wanted to bring to light from Genesis 12:1-3, we must ask how and why?
1. How was it that Avram got to this point of “knowing” that Adonai was THE Creator of the universe?
As the story is told in the Midrash, Avram’s father made Idols for a living. Avram was 12 years old now and had been contemplating for some time if the gods his father sold in his store were real or not. Avram would stop and consider the incredible beauty of the creation around him and wonder who had made it? Could it be one of the many idols in his fathers shop? Were they real or just a scam? Avram had to know!
One day his father left him in charge of the shop, while he ran some errands. After his father had left, a woman came in with a gift of food for the Biggest Idol in the shop as a peace offering. She was only a poor woman, so before she left she purchased one of the smaller idols to take home with her for luck. Avram watched the food left in front of the Big Idol for the longest time, waiting to see if it would eat the food, but nothing! The Idol didn’t move, and the food just sat there! “I bet these Idols aren’t real” Avram said out loud. That’s when he got and idea to find out once and for all. Avram ran outside, got the biggest stick he could find, ran back inside his fathers shop, and proceeded to break all the Idols. He broke all the idols except the Big Idol the woman had left the food for. He took the stick and placed it in the Big Idol’s hand, and waited for his father to return. When Avram’s father finally did return, what a sight! Idols smashed everywhere! “Oy Vey! Avram! What happened here? Why are all the Idols smashed, his father asked? Avram turned and pointed to the Big Idol with the stick in his hand, “He did it,” Avram replied. “He couldn’t have” Avram’s farther said, “that would be impossible, these are all just false Idols that we make in the back room, they have no life or power!” Avram replied “Then why do we worship them?”
From that day forward, Avram began to search and call out for the One True G-d, The Creator of heaven and earth, which brings us to the next part of our parsha…
2. WHY did G-d choose Avram?
Why did The Holy One (blessed be He) choose Avram? Is the story from the Midrash true? I do not know, however it makes some sense and gives some insight as to the why Adonai chose Avram. Was Avram the only person two thousand years after Adam that was seeking the True Creator of the universe? I believe he was the only one seeking Adonai with ALL his heart. Why do I do believe Avram was seeking Adonai with all of his heart. How do I know this? Because Avram found Him! The Word teaches us…Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. The part that I find is most important is “when you search for me with all of your heart,” The Hebrew for this is lā·väv’ it means the following:
1. inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding
1. inner part, midst
1. midst (of things)
2. heart (of man)
3. soul, heart (of man)
4. mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
5. inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
7. heart (of moral character)
8. as seat of appetites
9. as seat of emotions and passions
10. as seat of courage
I love the definitions of the word Lavav! What clarity it brings to the heart of this young boy who had decided to believe in the G-D of Creation! To believe in his heart to TRUST IN HIM, to not to be a part of the immoral, Idol worshiping world he was living in!
Take a look at #7, read ALL of the definition, and it reveals the innermost being of Avram. This also sheds light as to Bereishit 15:6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Eventually, the one true Creator that Avram had worshiped called to him, and made him an offer: if Avram would leave his home and his family, then G-d would make him a great nation and bless him. Avram accepted this offer, and the b’rit (covenant) between G-d and the Jewish people was established. (Gen. 12).
Friends, are you searching for Him with all your heart? Are you searching for the Messiah that Avram believed in by Faith (Trust)? The Word teaches us of the Messiah Yeshua as the SURE promise that Abraham believed in, not only Abraham but also Moshe and all the prophets! The following scripture comes from a conversation between Yeshua the Messiah and two men who were walking home after being in Jerusalem for Passover, The feast of unleavened bread, and the feast of First Fruits.
It is taken from the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) in Luke chapter 24.
If you have never read it out of fear of what your family or rabbi might think…think for yourself! Read it and decided if Yeshua (Jesus) is whom He said is. He is, and was VERY JEWISH, as you will see. I realize this will make this a little long, yet I believe it is necessary, so I have provided the scripture for you below:
From the Complete Jewish Bible, Luke 24: 1-53…1 but the next day, while it was still very early, they took the spices they had prepared, went to the tomb, 2 and found the stone rolled away from the tomb! 3 On entering, they discovered that the body of the Lord Yeshua was gone! They were 4 standing there, not knowing what to think about it, when suddenly two men in daz zlingly bright clothing stood next to them. 5 Terror-stricken, they bowed down with their faces to the ground. The two men said to them, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has been raised. Remember how he told you while he was still in the Galil, 7 `The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be executed on a stake as a criminal, but on the third day be raised again’?” 8 Then they remembered his words; 9 and, returning from the tomb, they told everything to the Eleven and to all the rest. 10 The women who told the emissaries these things were Miryam of Magdala, Yochanah, Miryam the mother of Ya`akov, and the others in their circle. 11 But the emissaries didn’t believe them; in fact, they thought that what they said was utter nonsense! 12 However, Kefa got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping down, he saw only the burial cloths and went home wondering what had happened. 13 That same day, two of them were going toward a village about seven miles from Yerushalayim called Amma’us, 14 and they were talking with each other about all the things that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed, Yeshua himself came up and walked along with them, 16 but something kept them from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you talking about with each other as you walk along?” They stopped short, their faces downcast; 18 and one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only person staying in Yerushalayim that doesn’t know the things that have been going on there the last few days?” 19 “What things?” he asked them. They said to him, “The things about Yeshua from Natzeret. He was a prophet and proved it by the things he did and said before God and all the people. 20 Our head cohanim and our leaders handed him over, so that he could be sentenced to death and executed on a stake as a criminal. 21 And we had hoped that he would be the one to liberate Isra’el! Besides all that, today is the third day since these things happened; 22 and this morning, some of the women astounded us. They were at the tomb early 23 and couldn’t find his body, so they came back; but they also reported that they had seen a vision of angels who say he’s alive! 24 Some of our friends went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.” 25 He said to them, “Foolish people! So unwilling to put your trust in everything the prophets spoke! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to die like this before entering his glory?” 27 Then, starting with Moshe and all the prophets, he explained to them the things that can be found throughout the Tanakh concerning himself. 28 They approached the village where they were going. He made as if he were going on farther; 29 but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us, for it’s almost evening, and it’s getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 As he was reclining with them at the table, he took the matzah, made the b’rakhah, broke it and handed it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But he became invisible to them. 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn inside us as he spoke to us on the road, opening up the Tanakh to us?” 33 They got up at once, returned to Yerushalayim and found the Eleven gathered together with their friends, 34 saying, “It’s true! The Lord has risen! Shim`on saw him!” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the road and how he had become known to them in the breaking of the matzah. 36 They were still talking about it when — there he was, standing among them! 37 Startled and terrified, they thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 But he said to them, “Why are you so upset? Why are these doubts welling up inside you? 39 Look at my hands and my feet — it is I, myself! Touch me and see — a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you can see I do.” 40 As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 While they were still unable to believe it for joy and stood there dumb founded, he said to them, “Have you something here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 which he took and ate in their presence. 44 Yeshua said to them, “This is what I meant when I was still with you and told you that everything written about me in the Torah of Moshe, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds, so that they could understand the Tanakh, 46 telling them, “Here is what it says: the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day; 47 and in his name repentance leading to forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed to people from all nations, starting with Yerushalayim. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 Now I am sending forth upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been equipped with power from above.” 50 He led them out toward Beit-Anyah; then, raising his hands, he said a b’rakhah over them; 51 and as he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 They bowed in worship to him, then returned to Yerushalayim, overflowing with joy. 53 And they spent all their time in the Temple courts, praising G-d.
Can you believe like Avram Avinu? Can you Trust in the One True G-D of Israel? Can you believe in your heart that Yeshua (Jesus) is Messiah? Are you seeking Him will all your Heart? If so you have found the One, that Moshe and the prophet’s spoke of, He is Yeshua HaMashiach Ben Elohim! (Jesus The Meissiah, The Son of G-D)
Pray with me now, repeat these words, Yeshua, I believe you are the One that Moshe and the prophets spoke of. Yeshua, I believe you are the Son of G-D, I believe you are the Lamb that was slain for my sins, and that Adonai raised you from the dead. I ask you now to look upon my heart and see a heart that believes in You, like Avram Avinu did. Adonai please apply the Atonement you provide for my sins, through the sacrifice of Yeshua on the execution stake, and wash me clean IN Yeshua. Amein.
If you prayed that prayer in sincerity, your name is now written down in Heaven (Shamayim) (שמים), in the Book of Life! There is so much more for you to know. Please contact us at www.rabbicliff.org. Go the contact section and click on my name under the email icon. I also encourage you to go the the National Jewish Fellowship website at www.njfag.org . We want to pray for you, send you some information, and connect you with a Messianic Rabbi in your area to help you in your walk with Yeshua.
May we all have the Heart of Avram (Abraham) and seek the L-RD while He may be found.
Rock of Israel Congregation
National Jewish Fellowship of the AG