Lech Lecha (5777)

Drash Cards for Lech Lecha (5777)

 By Marc Mangel

 I usually do not read verbatim things others have written, but this came from Chabad.org 8 Nov/7 Chesvan and I think it is worth reading





Now the drash

  • This month is called Mar Chesvan – bitter Chesvan – by Chabad Chadisism because of the lack of holidays that allow us to get closer to God. And in some sense the comedown is even greater, to wit:
  • The fifth Rebbe noted that Bereshit is a mixed sidra – we have the creation of the world, but the first ever murder (taking one generation before it happened!) and an unpleasant ending. Noach has the flood and Tower of Babel, but Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber says that it “ends on a happy note with the birth of our father Avraham”.
  • He then says “The really joyous week is that of parshat Lech L’cha. We live every day of the week with Avraham, the first to dedicate his very life to spreading Godliness in the world”. This is Avraham’s inheritance to all Jews.
  • Lech Lecha: “Go, go yourself”. Let’s think globally and act locally.
  • Think Globally. At Psalms some weeks ago, Tammi made a comment about the numbers of people following ethical monotheism. That intrigued me and I found the numbers as of 2012

Christianity    2.2 billion              32%

Islam                           1.6 billon    22.3%

Judaism             14 million        0.2%

  • Thus, although we still have much work to do to achieve Abraham’s dream of worldwide chesed, the children of Abraham broadly defined broadly represent more than 50% of the people in the world.
  • In the book Future Tense, Jonathan Sacks notes that Abraham’s message is one of universality and diversity: there is one God, who created all people, and there are many ways to pray to God. Indeed, long before we have the Torah, we have the Noahide laws, given to all the world:
  • Prohibition of idolatry; 2) Prohibition of blasphemy and cursing the name of God;  3) Prohibition of murder; 4) Prohibition on robbery and theft; 5) Prohibition of forbidden sexual relations; 6) Prohibition on removing and eating a limb of a live animal; and 7) Requirement to establish a justice system and courts to enforce the other  six laws.

These are mentioned in the 1991 version of the Congressional Bill in honor of the Rebbe, Education and Sharing Day, which says “ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded”

  • Sacks makes a compelling argument that the message of universality and diversity is why tyrants of all sorts cannot stand Jews – because a tyrant almost by definition sees only one way to do things.
  • Act locally. This is kind of an extension of my YK appeal, without asking you for any more money.
  • How many of you were born in Santa Cruz. When writing this, I guess no more than 2. All of us have taken ourselves from the home of our parents and come to Santa Cruz. What have we done?
  • We have created a lay lead congregation with energy, commitment to genuine davenning, and a zeal for learning. A congregation for us, but — equally important — for anyone who walks through those doors seeking connection with God.
  • In doing so we continue the work that Abraham started with the command from God Lech-Lecha. Let’s keep going.