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Shabbat Parashat Lech Lecha 5783

Parashat Hashavua: How to Find Eretz Yisrael?

Harav Yosef Carmel

The command “Go for you from your land and the place of your birth and the house of your father to a land that I will show you” (Bereishit 12:1) reverberates throughout the generations. The Torah does not tell us how Avraham (then, Avram) knew where to go: north, south, east, or west?

The midrash (Tanchuma, Lech Lecha 3) teaches that this lack of certainty indeed increased the difficulty of the test to which Avraham was put. Because Hashem did not tell Avraham where the place was, it was a test within a test. The midrash says that despite not knowing where he was to go, Avraham packed up his possessions, took his wife, and started traveling. However, it still does not say how Avraham found out where to go.

The Midrash Hagadol suggests that the word for “I will show you” can be read in a way that hints at the land in which Hashem’s “eyes” are found (see Devarim 11:12), upon which Avraham responded that he was ready to go to where Hashem wanted him to. This explains why it was Eretz Yisrael, but once again not how Avraham found it.

The Ramban (who, like Avraham, moved to Eretz Yisrael) explains that Avraham wandered from nation to nation until he came to the Land of Cana’an, where Hashem told him that this is the place He was giving to his descendants. That is what Avraham meant by “when Hashem made me wander from my father’s house” (Bereishit 20:13). So, according to the Ramban, Avraham was not told anything until he finally got there. This is also the approach of Rabbeinu Meyuchas (an early Rishon commentary).

The author of the Tur found a numerical hint, as he often does. “Ar’eka” (I will show you) has the same numerical value (222) as “ba’ananim” (in the clouds). This hints that the clouds went in front of Avraham and guided him as to where to go. Along these lines, we can find a hint at this phenomenon being a regular sign. The language that begins our parasha is basically repeated when Avraham takes to the road to go to the Land of Moriah to offer his son Yitzchak to Hashem (Bereishit 22:2). Here too, while Hashem told Avraham to go the region of Moriah, he did not know to which mountain. Chazal tell us that Avraham saw from a distance a special cloud upon the mountain, which showed that that was the one (Bereishit Rabba 56:1). So it was the same system of identification by clouds used coming to the Land and finding the sacred mountain many years later within it. There was also a special cloud over the tent of Sarah, there was one accompanying Bnei Yisrael in the desert, one that covered the Mishkan, and one that covered the Beit Hamikdash hundreds of years later at the time of Shlomo. When we sit each year in the sukka, we also commemorate the clouds of our illustrious past.

We pray that we will in the near future also see the special cloud on the top of the mountain and in fact over all of Eretz Yisrael, the Land upon which Hashem sets His eyes all year.

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Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Yisrael ben Rivka

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther
Yerachmiel ben Zlotta Rivka

Together with all cholei Yisrael

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland


Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771

Rav Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9 ,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782


Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20


Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781


R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774


Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780


R 'Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha


Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777


R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779


Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4


Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778


R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781


Nina Moinester z"l

Nechama Osna bat Yitzhak Aharon & Doba

Av 30, 5781


Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum z"l

Adar II 17, 5782


Mrs. Julia Koschitzky z"l

Adar II 18, 5782


Mrs. Leah Meyer z"l

Nisan 27, 5782


George Weinstein z"l

Gershon ben Yehudah Mayer

 a lover of the Jewish Nation Torah and Land.


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