11 Cheshvan 5777 – Lech-Lecha

The US has a new president and the entire world is in shock!

Everyone is wondering the same thing. How did the polls get it so wrong? More importantly, what will the world look like under Trump leadership?

This election process has been the most interesting in many years because both candidates have been controversial – each in their own way. I think that people want to see specific qualities in their leaders and many saw such qualities lacking in both candidates.

This week in Shule we will read Parashat Lech Lecha which contains the humble beginnings of the founder of religious faith – Abraham. Why was he chosen as the founder, or leader of Judaism and religion?

Because he was utterly devoted to his cause and concerned with the wellbeing of every individual around him.

In next week’s Parasha, when G-d decides to destroy the wicked city of Sedom, Abraham doesn’t sit back and accept G-d’s judgement but he intercedes on their behalf. “What if there are fifty righteous people in the city”, he asks, “will you destroy the righteous together with the wicked?” When G-d responds that that there aren’t even fifty righteous individuals, Avraham counters: What if there are 45 righteous people, 40 30, 20, 10 etc, You see, Avraham is unrelenting in his defence of humanity and will not rest until justice takes its course. Avraham is the prototype of selflessness, dedication and commitment and exhibited these traits already from a very young age. We are introduced to Avraham in this week’s Parasha, Lech Lecha, when Hashem charges him with his first mission – to leave his birthplace and hometown and travel to an unknown destination. The Torah tells us that Avraham was 75 years old at the time. But the Torah tells us almost nothing about Avraham’s earlier life.

The Midrash comes to the rescue and reveals to us a few stories from Avraham’s earlier years. It describes in great detail how Avraham discovers G-d as an inquisitive child and how he goes to incredible lengths to defend his beliefs. From destroying his father’s idols to standing up against the mighty king Nimrod of Mesopotamia, Avraham will not be swayed from the path of righteousness and truth.

These are some examples as to why I believe, Avraham was chosen as the leader of faith. Because he didn’t look the other way when others were suffering. He didn’t make loud promises and then fail to deliver. He actively sought to share of his blessings with others and to infuse his surroundings with his own goodness. He exemplified the attribute of truth, through and through.

I hope that we will see these traits of selflessness, care and honesty reflected in the actions and policies of the new leader of the free world.

On another note, I can’t wait to celebrate The Shabbat Project together with our community and look forward to seeing you at all our Shule events!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman

PS Enjoy some of the photos below from the Remembrance Day Commemoration held this past week and the new group mother’s and daughter’s in Bat Mitzvah Circle

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