Lech Lecha Genesis 12:1–17:27

Moshe Kempinski


The words that appears again and again throughout the life of Abraham are derivatives of the Hebrew verb word Lech- to walk. In the Torah portion called in our tradition LECH LECHA we read the following verse;

And Hashem said to Avram,( Abram) “Go forth( Lech Lecha) from ) Following this we read

“And Abram went ( VAYELECH) , as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him, and Abram was seventy five years old when he left Haran.( ibid:4)

Further on we another word that connotes travelling VaYisa “And Abram traveled VAYISA), continually traveling southward.( ibid:9)

Then after the unusual events in Egypt we read again;”And he went ( VAYELECH)on his journeys, from the south and until Beth el, until the place where his tent had been previously, between Beth el and between Ai.( ibid 13:3)

Then Hashem promises Abraham the land of Israel and says; “Rise, walk( HitHalech) in the land, to its length and to its breadth, for I will give it to you.””( ibid:17)

Hashem encourages Abraham and delivers the following promises that is clearly linked to Abraham’s walk ;And Abram was ninety-nine years old, and God appeared to Abram, and He said to him, “I am the Almighty God; walk ( HITHALECH) before Me and be perfect.And I will place My covenant between Me and between you, and I will multiply you very greatly.”( ibid 17:1-2)

Then comes the difficult and perplexing test of Abraham and Isaac. “And it came to pass after these things, that God tested Abraham, and He said to him, “Abraham,” and he said, “Here I am.”2And He said, “Please take your son, your only one, whom you love, yea, Isaac, and go forth ( LECH LECHA) to the land of Moriah and bring him up there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains, of which I will tell you.”) ibid 21:1-2)

Abraham listens and accepts the directive ;“And Abraham arose early in the morning, and he saddled his donkey, and he took his two young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for a burnt offering, and he arose and went( VaYelech) to the place of which God had told him.(ibid:3) .

Both Abraham and his son go forward into this unknown future ” And they both went (Vayelchu) together.”( ibid 8) Abraham never stopped walking forward.

We are told in the book of VaYikra( Leviticus) in the Torah portion of Bechukotai the following:

“If you walk ( TeiLeichu) in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit…” (Leviticus 26:3.4)

.In addition to all of the physical blessings, we read that the result of such a walk will also bring great spiritual blessing.

“And I will place My dwelling in your midst, and My Spirit will not reject you; I will walk ( HitHalachti) among you and be your G-d, and you will be My people.” (ibid 26:11-12

What is the difference between ” walking in the statutes” and “keeping the commandments”

Walking in the statutes is a pathway of elevated faith.

The Hebrew word for the law defined and rooted in the five books of Moses called the Torah is halacha. The root of the word isהלך — to walk.

Halacha is not simply a set of rules and structure. It is a walk of life, hand in hand with the Divine.

Understanding the essence of this walk of faith is critical for understanding the Jewish view of man’s purpose on this earth.

Abraham who is the master teacher of faith and faithfulness teaches us that Faith is not something that is felt but is an inner drive to walk out ( Halacha) that burning faith with passion and strength

.LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved.

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