Lech-Lecha

Torah Message from Rabbi Moldovan

Our forefather Avraham was brought up among idol worshipers. Later in life he discovered that there must be one God who created and sustains the world. The Rambam, based on a Medrash, says that Avraham recognized Hashem at the age of 40. The Raavad argues on the Rambam and says, based on a separate Medrash, that he was 3 years old when he recognized Hashem. The commentaries ask how could Avraham have the intellectual capacity at 3 years of age to see a God in the world?

The commentaries explain that, of course, it is impossible that Avraham started on his journey at the age of 3. He must have found Hashem at the age of 40 as per the opinion of the Rambam. But he used all his life experience of growing up in a house of idolatry to serve Hashem and bring people closer to Hashem. Therefore, it is considered as if he started serving Hashem from his youth at the age of 3.

People are born into different situations in life - some are born into wealth and others into poverty. Some are born into a functional home and others are born into a dysfunctional home. Some are born into a Torah observant home and others are born into a home lacking Torah observance. These situations are beyond our control and are not possible for us to counteract in our early youth. But when we come of age and have the mental capacity to analyze our path through life and choose our course for the future, we will find that we have developed many positive character traits and gained life experience in the environment in which we found ourselves. Our mission is to utilize these unique abilities in our service of Hashem. This is the lesson of Avraham.

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