לך לך/Lech Lecha
Torah: Genesis 12:1 - 17:27
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16
Brit Chadashah: Romans 4:1 - 25
There is an early Jewish parable that comes from a Midrash regarding our portion, which says – “Once there was a king who was sought to build a palace. He began to dig, going further down, to lay a foundation, but he found only swampy soil. And so, it was in many places. He was not able to build until he dug in one place, and there he found bedrock (petra, פטרא). Thus, he said, “I am building and placing foundations here,” and he built. So too, the Holy One, blessed be He, sought to create the world. He was sitting and scrutinizing the generation of Enosh and the generation of the flood, and He said, “Why should I create the world and let those wicked men arise and vex me?” But when the Holy One, blessed be He, saw Abraham arise in the future, he said, “Behold, I have found a rock (petra) to build upon and to lay the foundation of the world.” Thus, he called Abraham “Rock,” as it says [in Isaiah 51:1-2], “Look to the rock from which you were hewn.” (Yalkut Shimoni, Bamidbar, 23:766).
Traditionally speaking, early sages teach that Adonai chose Abram before the creation of the world in regards to the coming Messiah. They go on to say that as Adonai looked into the future after the flood, He saw Abram and thus, chose to “recreate” the world for the sake of Messiah. Traditionally, it is also said that Adonai’s command upon Abram to leave his kindred, his country and his father’s house actually represented a “third creation,” after the creation of the world and the earth’s rebirth after the flood. As a matter of fact, according to an early Midrash, they say that the world itself was created for the sake of Abraham’s Seed – the Messiah. As it is written, “These are the genealogical records (generations) of the heavens and the earth when they were created, at the time when Adonai Elohim made land and sky” – Genesis 2:4. In Hebrew the words, “when they were created” translate to say, “be’hibaram.” However, if you rearrange these letters they spell out – “beAbraham” – “In Abraham.” Thus, according to early Messianic scholars, the world itself was created for the sake of Abraham’s Seed – the Messiah. Rav Shaul wrote much earlier – “For by Him (Messiah) all things were created – in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen, whether thrones or angelic powers or rulers or authorities. All was created through Him and for Him. He exists before everything, and in Him all holds together” – Colossians 1:16-17.
In verse three of our portion, we read one of the most well-known verses – “My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” – Genesis 12:3. In regards to Messianic prophecy, it is highly agreed upon that this verse is speaking Abraham’s Seed, Messiah. Yet, it is also speaking prophetically of Abraham’s other physical descendants, through whom the Messiah would come – the Jewish people – Israel. The physical descendants of Abram would be called, “bavat eino,” – “The apple of G-D’s Eye.” As it is written, “Whoever touches you, touches the apple of His eye” – Zechariah 2:12 (TLV). Throughout Scripture (to include the Brit Chadashah), Adonai forever identifies Himself as – “The G-D of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Never does He call Himself the G-D of Joseph, or Moses or even David. He is indeed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the G-D of our fathers. Even the early Messianic writers declared – “God is not ashamed to be called their God” – Hebrews 11:16. Rav Shaul would go to explain to the Gentile communities of Messiah that the Jewish people would remain Adonai’s chosen people even if they have accepted the Gospel of Messiah Yeshua – “Concerning the Good News, they are hostile for your sake; but concerning chosen-ness, they are loved on account of the fathers – for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” – Romans 11:28-29. Rav Shaul would gain this understanding from the words of Moses, himself when he said (speaking to the Jewish people) – “Because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants after them” – Deuteronomy 4:37. While both Jewish and Gentile believers are indeed spiritual descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, this does not mean that Adonai has rejected the Jewish people as a whole. This is why it is still important to “bless Israel” – even to this day. Did not Adonai say – “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.” If we take a long look at history itself – historicity testifies to this truth. Those who have come up against Israel have indeed lost. This is a fact. Therefore, it is important for both Jew and Gentile to bless Israel.
For the one who blesses, he is seen as one of the priests of Israel who extends Adonai’s blessings to Israel and therefore, he is blessed and so are his people or nation – as it is written, “In this way they are to place My Name over Bnei-Yisrael, and so I will bless them” – Numbers 6:27. The prophet Jeremiah may have alluded to this when he said, “Adonai bless you, O dwelling of righteousness, O mountains of holiness” – Jeremiah 31:22. This means that while this world may indeed bless you – it is only temporary. Yet, through the blessing of Abraham it is eternal – because the blessing is Messiah, who is Yeshua.
Adonai promised that He would indeed bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curses him. Adonai went on to say this about Abraham’s descendants as well, which includes his seeds, Israel and his Seed, Messiah. In the Brit Chadashah it is very clear what happens to those who bless Abraham by putting their faith in Messiah and to those who reject the Messiah. Adonai is still faithful to Israel and not cast off His Chosen People and neither should anyone else. Adonai’s faithfulness to national Israel is a testimony of His faithfulness to us – His followers in Messiah Yeshua. Therefore, let us continue to bless Adonai by blessing Israel.