Parshat Lech Lecha 5781: Terach’s Aborted Journey to Cana’an, Warning of Consequences in Today’s Sequel

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Lech Lecha is being sponsored by Zev and Sarit Schonberg and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated as a Zechus for the success of their children, Aryeh, Akiva, Adina, Rachel and Yehuda. To the Schonberg family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Lech Lecha 5781: Terach’s Aborted Journey to Cana’an, Warning of Consequences inToday’s Sequel

by Moshe Burt

As Parshat No’ach segues into our Parshat Lech Lecha, each year, this author repeats a line said over on the first night of Succot, as Avraham Avinu is the first day’s Ushpizin (the one for whom the day in the Succah is dedicated). This brief line is a parody on a line from the classic weekly Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In comedy hour of the late sixties and early seventies:

“And now, the man without whom the Jews wouldn’t be the Jews without the Jew, Avraham Avinu!”

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin provides the food for this vort in his sefer, “Unlocking the Torah Text” (Sefer Breish’t, Parshat Lech Lecha, pages 60-62):

At the end of Parshat No’ach, Avraham’s father, Terach embarks upon a mysterious journey with his entire family. Without knowing why, the Torah simply states, “And they [Terach’s family, including Avraham and his family] left Ur Casdim to travel to the land of Cana’an.” (Rabbi Goldin citing and rendering to English Sefer Breish’t, Perek 11, posuk 31)

This journey was aborted, short of its destination, as the Torah indicates: “And they came to Charan and they settled there… And Terach died in Charan.” Rabbi Goldin citing and rendering to English Sefer Breish’t, Perek 11, posukim 31-32)

What was the catalyst for Terach’s journey towards Cana’an and what was the purpose of the expedition? Why did it end in Charan?

Perhaps the very fact of Terach’s travels is proof of the Sforno’s suggestion that the land of Cana’an was well known for its holiness. Perhaps, as well, the Torah is suggesting that Terach, a man identified within Midrashic literature as a purveyor of idolatry, might have been searching for a greater truth. Could it be that Avraham’s father was not irredeemable, but actually showed a spark of spirit that would eventually burn full force in his son’s heart?

What we do know is that Avraham’s journey emerges from the text as a continuation of his father’s original quest. The difference between father and son, from this perspective, lies in their ability and in their willingness [or in Terach’s case, possible lack of both] to stay the course, to complete the journey.

What separates Avraham from Terach. on one level, is that Avraham finishes the journey while Terach does not. How many individuals across the face of history have made a real difference simply because they have been willing and able to finish the task?

Rabbi Goldin continues (ibid):

The Torah teaches us the important lesson of “staying the course” within the context of Avraham’s journey to the Land of Israel. This… message… could not be more pertinent to our times.

Today’s diaspora community of Jews exists at a time when return to Israel is possible. And yet, for a variety of reasons, some more compelling than others, our personal journeys to our homeland have been aborted. Like Terach, …[many, most] have decided to stay in Charan at a time when other choices exist.

…That might explain why one can currently observe, even within the affiliated community of Jews, a growing apathy to the miracle that is the State of Israel. We care about Israelis; we are concerned for their safety; but in our eyes the State of Israel has, to a great extent, lost its luster. Israel’s existence no longer moves [many] of us as it once did.

This growing apathy is reflected in the ambivalence of [many in] the “Yeshiva world” towards the state, in the declining spirit Religious Zionist community in America and [the]… growing tendency [among secular Jews] to make… support for the State of Israel conditional upon its adherence to… [their] political positions. [Example being “JewStreet”]

But as this vort is being written, the diaspora community of Jews faces a triple-whammy; the Chinese Communist laboratory contrived corona pandemic sweeping the world, dramatic growth of anti-semitism world-wide which has mushroomed in America as well with the confluence of corona, the violence and cancel-culture of Anti-fa, Black Lives Matter and other such violent groups on both the left and the right, and a cruel, nasty presidential campaign in which one political party projects all of its own illegal actions of sabotage toward it’s opponents onto the other political party and its standard-bearer — a President of the United States — the Most Israel-friendly president ever.

The resulting reality and consequences for American Jews of all strips may well be, depending on the victors in November’s election, or if the results are a protracted stalemate due to corruption, ballot theft, etc., notwithstanding where they may happen to live. catastrophic. One could even contemplate the possibility, if extremists wrest governmental power from the incumbent, that America’s borders could close to Jews trying to leave to Eretz Yisrael. Anti-semitism among the nations makes no distinction between Observant or Secular Jews, even if those Jews align themselves with Anti-fa, Black Lives Matter, or even JewStreet. We’ve seen this repeatedly in our history, culminating in the Sho’a — the Holacaust.

To repeat this thought from Rabbi Goldin:

How many individuals across the face of history have made a real difference simply because they have been willing and able to finish the task?

It’s time for those American Jews who sincerely identify with their Judaism to make their move for Aliya to Eretz Yisrael, to “stay the course” and follow it through to physically make it to Eretz Yisrael.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free, as Naama Issachar is now free and home — which can only occur when Jonathan is home in Israel and carrying for his ill wife Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of five and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.