THOUGHT FOR PARSHAT LECH LECHA 5779
BY RABBI CHAIM FACHLER
In both this week’s Parsha of Lech Lecha and next week’s Parsha Vayera, we read about the ten “Nisyonot“ – Challenges, Trials that HaShem gave to Avraham. Why was Avraham tested so many times? Did HaShem really doubt Avraham’s loyalty and faith?
Based on the commentary of the Netziv, we can compare these trials to a professional athlete’s very intensive training program. The coach doesn’t demand one more lap to see whether he or she can do it, but in order to improve on the performance. The more the athletes train, the faster they can run, the longer they can endure and the better they become.
But a good coach knows exactly how to achieve this. Too much training can do damage. Not enough training can produce poor results.
HaShem recognised the amazing potential that Avraham showed from a very early age. Hashem was Avraham’s trainer, bringing him to greater heights with each stage, but never asking of him something that might do more harm than good.
Avraham accepted these challenges willingly, fully understanding that their purpose was for his own good. And it is no coincidence that the ultimate challenge would also involve his son, whom Avraham had already taught the infinitely wise ways of HaShem, thus paving the way for future generations to face together whatever HaShem has in store.
The trials and tribulations we face every day, the regular frustrations and disappointments we experience, are not always obviously or transparently HaShem’s way of strengthening our resolve. In fact, it is sometimes extremely difficult to even think about HaShem when our focus is on addressing the problems and challenges facing us. But hey, that’s probably part of the test.
At all times we need to remember that the most comforting and encouraging thought of all is that if HaShem didn’t love us and didn’t want us to become better individuals, He wouldn’t be spending all that effort in creating these challenges that we need to deal with.