Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Lech Lecha

The following is a brief summary of a vort said over by R' Frand on the parsha. I have attempted to reproduce the vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In the very beginning of the parsha, we read that Hashem tells Avraham to go "to the land that I will show you." The Medrash teaches in the name of R' Yochanan that Hashem did not tell Avraham initially that he was going to Israel, in order for Avraham to get reward for each step that he took on the journey.

R' Frand quoted R' Boruch Ber (of Kaminetz), who explained that had Avraham been commanded to travel to Israel, then the journey would merely be the mechanism (hechsher mitzva) for fulfilling the commandment. However, because Hashem commanded Avraham to go "to the land that I will show you", every step that Avraham took was the fulfillment of the mitzva of "going."

R' Frand then asked what seemed like the obvious question - the only other Lech Lecha is written in Parsha Vayera in relation to the akeidah. However in that parsha, Hashem tells Avraham to go to "Eretz Moriah". Why didn't Hashem also direct Avraham to travel to the "land I will show you" so that Avraham could earn reward for each step?

R' Frand answered by quoting the sefer Bei Chiya who addressed the question by referencing a Maharal. The Maharal writes that if a person has two sukkoth to travel to, but one was closer to the other, there is no greater reward for travelling to the further sukkah. However, if a person has two different shuls he can walk to, he gets a greater reward for going to the further shul as for each step he gets s'char halicha. The Maharal teaches that the reason the reward is greater for going to the shul is that the person is going to where Hashem is waiting for him and each step towards Hashem is a mitzvah.

The Bei Chiya explains that when Hashem told Avraham to go to Eretz Moriah, He was directing Avraham to go to a place where Hashem already was. As such, each step that Avraham took was already being tabulated and rewarded and there was no need for a direction to travel to "the land that I will show you."

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