Bereishis 12:1. And the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.
So begins this week’s Torah portion with a journey that is to culminate ultimately in the realization of the unity of above. Abram by definition is listening to Hashem. He has initiated and become a part of the divine conversation. This is something of note because all around him the world is fragmented in their idol worship, their many gods, and their indifference towards each other. Now here comes Abram who recognizes the unity of man and Hashem and decides to live his life accordingly.
What is this land that Hashem is going to show him? It is the land of unity which means the land of the combination of Abram’s listening and Hashem’s blessings as a result of this listening. Hashem is teaching Abram about the nature of the universe and the way things work while Abram is then going to be experiencing the results of these teachings.
Hashem is teaching Abram Torah although in not as formal a manner as Moshe receives the Torah. Still all the same it is the same Torah that Moshe has captured later on to pass on to the generations. It is the Torah of mouth to ear or the oral Torah, Torah Sheba’al Peh.”
We have to remember the context out of which this story unfolds. Abram has eschewed his birthplace meaning his fragmented life and now he is learning to place his trust in Hashem. Abram builds an altar to the Lord meaning he has brought into mind the chain of association that placed his soul into the realization of unity.
Bereishis 12:7. And the Lord appeared to Abram, and He said, “To your seed I will give this land,” and there he built an altar to the Lord, Who had appeared to him.
What is this realization? What is Abram’s seed? The realization is that Abram is one with Hashem and that his thoughts which are his “seed” are now given a place, the “land” to come forth in. This means that once Abram recognizes the unity of purpose and fulfillment he may utilize this dynamic to produce the abundance of good that is his birthright.
Abram however, is tested as he must be in order to witness the effects of this new relationship. His plan is to pass his wife Sarai off as his sister to fool Pharaoh so that he won’t be killed because of her beauty. Oddly enough this plan works but Pharaoh soon catches on and casts Abram and his family out of Egypt because of the trouble that Abram’s lie has brought him.
Bereishis 12:19. Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to myself for a wife? And now, here is your wife; take [her] and go.”
The lesson for Abram is that you cannot transform Egypt or doubt with a lie. Even though Abram prospers from this exchange he is not quite there in his understanding of the way things work. It is this understanding that will continue to be the subject of the ongoing Torah sections as we shall see Abram become Abraham because he finally does get what Hashem has been trying to teach him. B”H