- Written by Tal Segal
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Avraham is the first person in the modern world to stop and realise that there is a Creator to the world. The Midrash gives the analogy of a person walking along the highway and he comes to a city that is ablaze with flames. And he says to himself 'This city must have had a builder! Now it's on fire.... where is the leader of this city? It is impossible to have a city without a leader.' So too it is impossible to have a complex and beautiful world without a Creator. This is what Avraham realised and brought to the world.
The Midrash goes on to say that once Avraham came to that conclusion, and said 'There must be a Leader to this "city"', then Hashem turned to him and said " I am the Leader of this 'city'". Meaning, 'I am the Creator and Maintainer of this world'. First Avraham realised there must be one God who created the world, then Hashem spoke to him and revealed to him all the secrets of the creation and established with him a close relationship.
When did this new connection start? The first verse of our parsha tells us:
"Hashem said to Avram, "Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you, and I will make you name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you."
Although Hashem speaks to Avraham now, in this verse, before he left to go to Israel, we see that Hashem says go to the land that "I will show you". Meaning, that once you get there, to the Land of Israel, I will show you new things, new insights, and new levels of understanding Me and the nature of the world.
And so it was.... when Avraham arrived in Shchem (also called the Plain of Moreh), we are told:
"Hashem appeared to Avram and said "To your offspring I will give this land." (Bereishit 12:7)
That is when this new connection started.
We have one last question to ask: What were these new levels of insights? What were these incredible levels that our forefather Avraham, the founder of Monotheism, the author of Sefer Yetzira (one of the deepest and most sacred texts we have), reached? What is it that Hashem revealed to him?
The answer is in the verses we have already brought: "Go to the land that I will show you", "Hashem appeared to Avram". When you see something you know it is true. Nothing is as true as something that you have seen. Once you see it, it's a fact. It exists. You see your hand in front of your face and know it is there. Hashem revealed to Avraham that He exists, and that He is all existence. It was as clear to Avraham as could possibly be. It was a fact. It was existence.
Our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, are the foundation of our people. What they acheived became our spiritual DNA. Each of them developed and excelled in a different area of understanding Hashem and His world and passed that on to us. Avraham was first. He realised and came to absolute clarity in the recognition that there is One Creator to this world. And that all existence comes from Him. He is all existence. That clarity and vision lies within each of us. If a person were to look within himself he would find it there. For generations the Jewish people when faced with a choice between Judaism and death chose death. Because to them it wasn't even a choice. Judaism wasn't a nice way of living, or rewarding, or whatever the other reasons that motivate us to keep the mitzvot. Those are true, but it's more than that. It's existence. It is the spiritual physics of the world. It's a fact.
To our loss in the last few hundred years this has been lost to a great extent. But until then, throughout our entire history, these things were clear. Avraham made them clear for us, and that clarity is planted deep within each one of us. One just need to look within and realise who they really are, and this will lead them to the conclusion that there is no city without a leader. And then, the "Leader" of this great city turns to each of us and says "Ani hu baal habira - I am the Leader of this city."
And the rest is history.....