18 November 2016

Everything Is A Test - Will You Pass?

17 Marcheshvan 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Shabbat Shalom!

[NOTE: It was on this day - 4,121 years ago - that the Rains of Judgment began to fall on a world richly deserving of it. Never forget that. Never doubt the justice or the mercy of HKB"H.]

Parshas Vayera - Shabbos Day
by Rabbi Pinchas Winston

...Avraham has been criticized for encouraging Lot to leave his camp. Some even say that for doing so, he was later forced to rescue his nephew when S’dom had been conquered by the four enemy kings. However, for someone involved in outreach, it is difficult to accept that Avraham would so easily relinquish his connection to his own nephew. Whatever happened to “outreach begins at home”?

Perhaps he didn’t. Perhaps what Avraham was doing was testing Lot, or better yet, confronting him about his attitude toward truth. After all, he had spent all that time with Avraham until then, and still had failed to absorb some of the most basic messages Avraham’s life and journey transmitted. It is not unlike the choice that Moshe put before the quarrelling Jewish nation, hundreds of years later:

“How can I alone bear your troubles, your burden, and your strife? Get wise and understanding men, known among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you.” And you answered me, “What you have said is good to do.” (Devarim 1:12)

“‘You immediately decided the matter for yourselves. You should have said, “Our teacher, Moshe! Who is it better to learn from, you or your students … Not from you, who have worked so hard over it?” But I know what you were thinking, “Many judges will be appointed over us … If one of them does not recognize us, we will bring him a gift and he will show us favor.”‘” (Rashi)

Hence, what appeared in Parashas Yisro to be an option was later revealed in Parashas Devarim to be a test; a test of loyalty, a test of strength of character, a test of self-sacrifice for truth. For Lot it had been the same type of situation. Lot, in last week’s parshah, heard Avraham give him a choice, but as Lot’s daughters revealed in this week’s parshah, Avraham had given him a test, and sadly, Lot didn’t see it and therefore failed.

Read the rest HERE.