Lech Lecha (Bereishit
© 2011-4 S.H. Parker
Consciousness of where and among whom you live is important (as modern realtors say, "location, location, location"). My teacher, R. Joseph Radinsky, taught me that there is an inyan that asserts that a Jew is "forbidden" to live in a place that does not have a physician....
|וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם, לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ.||And the Lord said unto Abram: "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee."|
The opening phrase of this parsha, לֶךְ לְך, is a strange phrase. Literally, it means something like "go to you" or "go to yourself." This term only appears a very few times - three times if I recall correctly - in the Torah, two of these occurrences in are this parsha. Many a d'var is devoted to trying to understand this term.
Rashi teaches that it indicates "for your benefit; for your own good."
How can this uprooting, this leaving of country, clan and family be good for him? Kal v'chomer in such an intensely clan-oriented society as Abram lived in.
Rashi further explains: there I will make you a great nation; here you will not merit to have children.
"There" is Canaan.
"Here" you will not merit children. "Here" is not a suitable place for Avram, Sarai and their (promised) children. "Here" is not a suitable place for the Jewish people. "Here" is not a place for a Jew.
Where is "here?"
"Here" is Haran. Haran is located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, on their northern reaches. Haran is located in what will later be known as "Assyria" and, later still, "Babylonia:"
Later still, Haran will be in a land known as "Iraq."
Haran ... Assyria [destroyer of the northern kingdom] ... Babylonia [destroyer of the southern kingdom] ... Iraq - is not a suitable place for the Jewish people. So Rashi teaches us.
Some, things, you know, just don't change....