By Shalom Olensky
This week in the Torah:
The weekly portion begins with “Lech Lecha…” (“Go, for your sake”) – G-d’s command to Abraham to leave home and go to the Land of Israel.
“Go, for your sake,” represents an instruction to proceed in life, which for a Jew, that means to proceed ever higher in the service of his Maker.
How does this opening fit the contents of the weekly portion – specifically, Abraham’s descent to Egypt due to a drought in Israel upon his arrival; something that could have belittled the pious Abraham and his faith in the eyes of the nations? This was especially compounded by the debacle of Pharaoh’s capture of Abraham’s wife, Sarah – albeit short lived because G-d protected her. How does this fit the above theme of proceeding ever higher spiritually?
When Pharaoh realized with whom he was dealing, he dispatched Abraham and Sarah homeward with enormous riches. The pious couple thereby elevated Divine sparks, which had been hidden in Egypt.
Thereby, the parents of the Jewish Nation set the tone for the future exile of the Jews in Egypt and the resultant, glorious Exodus. This in turn set the tone for the exile we are in today, as well as the resultant, glorious Redemption soon to come with Moshiach. In all these cases, the descent was a necessary step towards the ascent that followed; making it all, in truth, a case of proceeding ever higher – “Lech Lecha.”
Let one never despair at the appearance of a surrounding, impregnable, spiritual darkness. For G-d has the master plan, consisting of the most amazing ascent, resultant of the Jews’ work at doing whatever they can to spread light during the exile, thereby heralding the coming of Moshiach.
(Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 5, Lech Lecha)