Parshot Festivals

The Abraham Accord a promising name

  • Rabbi Goldman
Now Sudan has joined the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in reconciling its differences with Israel. The Abraham Accord is growing, and promises even greater things to come soon.
by Rabbi Yossy Goldman, Sydenham Shul | Oct 29, 2020

I love the name “The Abraham Accord” and have, in fact, always argued that our father, Abraham, was the single most influential person in human history. Not only 14 million Jews, but all the trillions of Christians and Muslims throughout history owe their faith in one G-d to Abraham, the founder of monotheism.

In this week’s parsha, Lech Lecha, Abraham is tested. “Go from your land, from your birthplace, from your father’s house to the land I will show you,” said G-d to him. And it was there – far from his natural environment and immediate comfort zones – that Abraham accomplished G-d’s mission of monotheism. He spread the name of the one G-d to a pagan world and, in the process, his own name and reputation was established for eternity.

It is, of course, much easier to be good and pious at home and in our sequestered ghettoes than it is in the outside world, so often oblivious – or even hostile – to the Torah and its values. Yet, it was only after leaving home that Abraham grew his reputation and became the founding father of the Jewish people and all the Abrahamic faiths.

A hundred or more years ago, a generation of Yiddish-speaking, observant Jews migrated from Europe. They came to South Africa, the golden land of opportunity, to escape pogroms and persecution. With blood, sweat, and tears they transformed themselves from rags to riches. It was an amazing and inspirational success story. But the fact is that for many, as their businesses succeeded, their religious lives failed. Unquestionably, Judaism took a severe body blow. Most were unable to sustain their old-world values in new world South Africa. The transition from shtetl to suburbia proved too formidable, and too many children and grandchildren grew up significantly weaker than their parents in their knowledge and observance of the Jewish way of life.

It’s like the story of the shadchan, the old-fashioned matchmaker, who suggested a young lady to a fellow and was absolutely raving about her. After their first date, the fellow calls up the shadchan and gives him a piece of his mind. “How dare you introduce me to such a girl; didn’t you know she limps?!” Quite unflustered, the shadchan retorts, “But, what’s the problem, it’s only when she walks!”

It’s when we walk away from our comfortable cocoons and spiritual safety nets into the wider society that we may find ourselves losing our Jewish equilibrium. It’s then that our faith, our values, our morals, and beliefs are truly challenged.

Please G-d, the children of Abraham will emulate their forefather, who left his land and remained strong in faith and family, going on to achieve remarkable success, spiritually and materially.

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