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Trying Your Best

Lech Lecha (Genesis 12-17 )

by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

It isn't just about the destination, the journey counts as well.

At the beginning of Parashat Lech Lecha, we have details of the epic journey that Avraham and Sarah made to reach the promised land - Vayeitzu Lalechet Artzah Canaan Vayovou Artzah Canaan. We are told that they left Charan, in order to go to the Land of Canaan and then they arrived in the Land of Canaan. Surely this is unnecessary repetition? Why do we need to know that they wanted to go there and they arrived there as well?

The Chafetz Chaim points out that this was not the only journey with the intention of reaching the Land of Canaan. At the end of last week's Parasha of Noach, we are told about another journey. This was embarked upon by Terach, Avraham's father, they went to reach the Land of Canaan, but when they reached Charan, they stopped over there.

The Chafetz Chaim tells us that the message that emerges from these passages is, it's not good enough just to have good intentions; we should always strive to achieve our aspirations. Terach didn't do that but Avraham did.

I would like to judge Terach a bit more favourably because we are taught in the Ethics of the Fathers - Lo Alecha Hamlacha Ligmor Veloh Atah Ben Chorim Livatel Mimenah - You don't have to complete every job that you start, but that doesn't free you from starting those tasks. Terach did start a worthwhile task, he did embark on that journey, however ultimately, his dream was fulfilled one generation later.

You don't have to complete every task that you start, but that doesn't mean that you're free from trying your best to achieve it.

Shabbat Shalom


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