Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Avraham -- the first centrist?

One more point on last week’s parsha before moving on: In every place the Torah mentions that Avraham stopped, something happened – Hashem appeared to him, he offered a korban, etc.  There is a reason specific places are mentioned.  The exception seems to be the statement (12:9) that Avraham was “haloch v’naso’a haNegba.”  What happened there?  Why did he head south? 

Seforno answers that Avraham had camped (see 12:8) right in between the cities of Beit El and the Ai.  His sphere of influence extended equally to both places.  Had he moved a little bit in one direction or the other, east or west, he would have been moving further away from one of these two locations and had influenced there would have been diminished.  Therefore, the Torah tells us that Avraham limited his travel to heading southward, maintaining the same longitudinal axis.

Does this mean Avraham was the first centrist?

Why the double language of “haloch v’naso’a?”  The Alshich explains that Avraham headed south to go to Har Sinai to experience the kedushas hamakom there. Avraham was “haloch.”  The word “naso’a,” explains the Alshich, is not referring to Avraham, but rather to the kedusha of Sinai.  When you travel towards kedusha, it comes out to greet you. 

We find the same thing in Parshas Zos haBracha: the pasuk doesn’t say, “Hashem l’Sinai ba…,” that the Shechina came to Sinai, but rather, “Hashem m’Sinai ba…,” Hashem came out from Sinai.  The Torah is telling us that when Bnei Yisrael came to receive the Torah, the Shechina came out from Sinai to greet them.

Don't worry about how you will complete your journey when you start on a trek to kedusha -- the kedusha will come out and meet you half way.

1 comment:

  1. Same with Yaakov going back to the makom HaMikdash so because he started towards kedusha the makom HaMikdash came to him.