The Power of Empowerment

Friday, 8 November, 2019 - 12:12 pm

In a class last week we were discussing the contrast between Avraham and the great people that preceded him. The Torah singles Avraham out for praise for above individuals such as Adam, Chanoch, Noach, and Shem. I asked the participants why they thought this was so. One person offered the following idea. The earlier great people had knowledge of Hashem because Hashem communicated with them. Avraham was the first to discover Hashem on his own. Now this is a logical and compelling conclusion. Yet, I pointed out, the Torah tells us nothing about Avraham’s early life of discovering Hashem and sharing that discovery with thousands around him. All we know about Avraham’s early life is who his father was, who he married and that he left his birthplace to a land called Charan. Any other information we have about Avraham’s accomplishments until he was past 70 is from the Oral tradition and a few hints in later verses of the Written Torah.

We meet Avraham in the Torah when Hashem commands him at the age of 75 to leave Charan and move to Canaan. That is the opening of this week’s Parsha. This implies that there is a marked distinction between the life of Avraham until that command and the life of Avraham following that command.

The Rebbe points out that this teaches us that the true power that a Jew has to impact the universe and bring change to the world is when the Jew is empowered by the command of Hashem. We can achieve much through our own efforts, as is evidenced by the first 75 years of Avraham’s life. But he power of real and lasting transformation comes when we are empowered by Hashem’s command.

This is the underlying reason why Mitzvahs are such a vital part of Jewish life. Mitzvahs are plugged into the “Divine juice.” This, in turn, endows us with the same infinite energy flow, with which we can infuse the world with divinity.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Comments on: The Power of Empowerment
There are no comments.