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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Lech Lecha

Always Growing

We have previously discussed what the hashkafic differences between Avraham Aveinu and Lot were, to understand what it was that ultimately resulted in Lot’s exclusion from the nation that Avraham was going to found. When given the choice where to live, Lot chose to live among the Sedomites. This choice would tell us a lot about Lot’s approach toward his growth. He chose to live among people who were not as great as he was. As long as he was the greatest among the people he interacted with, this was good enough. This was, of course, very far from the life of constant dedication and commitment that Avraham preached. There is never a place for complacency in one’s avodah, and we must work to eradicate these feelings. Always striving upward; always pushing onward, these are signs of true dedication. But there is perhaps an even greater lesson we can learn from Lot; a lesson that explains why and how Lot ended up taking leave of Avraham, and falling so quickly from grace. After Hashem issued the command of Lech Lecha to Avram, the verse tells us, And Avram departed, as Hashem had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. However, a few pesukim later it says, And Avram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his nephew. First, we learn that Lot seemingly accompanied Avram willingly on his own accord, and then we learn that he was taken; in the way a student follows his teacher. Perhaps we can explain that the Torah means to clue us in on the two different thought processes present here. Avraham had intended to take Lot with him as a disciple, and to continue to teach him and mold him spiritually. This is indeed what Avraham thought was taking place when he included Lot in his caravan of followers on the way to Canaan. Indeed, this would have been the correct way for Lot to approach the situation; to realize his place as a student and follow Avraham’s lead. This approach could have spared Lot from descent into his own hashkafos. But this was not at all what was going through Lot’s mind. He saw himself responding to Lech Lecha voluntarily, as one making his own decision, and that he would go as a prime member of Hashem’s chosen group, as Avram and Sarai did. He would tag along with his uncle Avram, but in his own mind he was not a student any longer. And it was this change in attitude that was the reason Lot failed to develop into the person Avraham wished! He stopped listening to his Rebbi, and he ended up a completely different person! Herein lies the lesson we must learn. A person has to realize the importance of a Rebbi who serves as his guide through the travails of this world. Not only to ask when a person does not know, but to truly listen to what his Rebbi tells him. Following a Rebbi’s instructions is a way of life. If one’s attitude is that he is finished growing, and he understands everything; he cannot learn even from the great Avram! Let us work to retain an open mind and an ever-constant willingness to be taught by our Rabbeim, and to change ourselves in accordance with those directives. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss


Lech Lecha 5782
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