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  KD MAGAZINE!      ב"ה                    
 
 
  PARSHAT LECH LECHA  
 

By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs

PARSHAT LECH LECHA, BY RABBI YONASSAN BIGGS פרשת לך לך מאת הרב יונתן ביגס

   

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

 Shalom and Bracha!

   This week’s portion is filled with powerful and significant occurrences in Jewish history. The portion begins with Hashem commanding Avraham to go to Israel and continues with Hashem’s promise and covenant that Israel would be the eternal inheritance of the Jewish people. Avraham is shown in a prophetic vision the upcoming exile and the return of his people to Israel. The portion continues with the commandment of Brit Milah, which is the first unique Mitzvah that distinguishes the Jewish people from the children of Noach. The portion concludes with Hashem’s promise of the birth of Yitzchak and the eternal covenant through Yitzchak.

  In this week's portion we find that Avraham built three altars. Rashi explains that Avraham built the first altar in appreciation for the promise of the land of Israel and the birth of Yitzchak. He built the second altar because he saw prophetically that his descendants would sin in that place and he prayed for their atonement. Rashi does not give a reason for the third altar. When the Torah relates something, it is a lesson for all of us. Each of the altars teaches us a lesson in service of Hashem.

  The Gemara (Ketubot 10:b) relates that the word Mizbeach (altar) is related to the word Mazon, which means sustenance, Michaper, which means atonement, and Michavev, when means endearment. The altar in the Temple represented all of these relationships with Hashem. The altar in the Temple was a medium for us to thank Hashem for providing our needs, seek forgiveness for our errors and simply becomes closer to Hashem. The three altars that Avraham built parallel these three ideas. The altar that was built in appreciation of the promises of the land of Israel and the birth of Yitzchak parallels the altar's providing for our needs. It is significant to note the demonstration of faith in the building of the altar at the time of the promise, not delaying until the fulfillment. The altar for atonement was precisely that. The third altar is described in the Torah simply as an altar to Hashem, with no other motive.

  Our prayers parallel the sacrifices. All three concepts are central to prayer. The pillar of faith is the awareness that everything we have comes from Hashem. Only He can fulfill our needs and we must constantly feel and show appreciation for that which He has given us and beseech and have faith that He will continue to provide for us. This is the Mitzvah of prayer, expression of appreciation for all that we have and beseeching Hashem for all of our needs.

 A further step is self improvement. When we consider our bond with Hashem, the Creator and Master of the world, we realize that we are lacking in his service. A critical aspect of prayer is asking Hashem’s help in bettering ourselves and forgiving our past errors and paths. This is Teshuvah, and is represented by Avraham’s second altar.

  The first two levels are prayer with a purpose and a goal. The Rambam teaches that the higher service of Hashem is simply to become closer to Him, the pure expression of love. This alluded to in Avraham’s third altar and is the ultimate level of prayer. The word Tefillah means prayer, but also means binding. It is imperative to pray for our needs and forgiveness. The ultimate in prayer is simply being one with Hashem.

  The three altars parallel the three Temples; The Temple of Shlomo, the Temple of Ezra, and the Temple that will be built by Moshiach. In Moshiach’s time we will be fully imbued with the closeness of Hashem and the Knowledge of Hashem will fill the Earth just as the waters fill the ocean bed. The Midrash teaches that the Third Temple will be consecrated in the month of Cheshvan. May we merit that it will be this month!

   Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs
  Rabbi Yonassan Biggs is from Chabad of Great Neck, NY. His website is: http://www.chabadgn.com/
 
 

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