Lech Lecha (Genesis 12-17 )
And he trusted in God, and God reckoned (it to him as righteousness 15:6)
The Torah tells us that God considered the patriarch Abraham’s faith to be meritorious. But let us reflect a moment. If God spoke to any of us, would we not have an unshakeable faith? In what way is Abraham praiseworthy for believing in God with Whom he communicated directly?
This question is also asked about Moses. How could Moses fulfill the mitzvah of having faith in God when he was in direct contact with him? We do not have faith that there is a moon or that two plus two equals four. That which we see or understand does not require an act of faith.
The answer was given by Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz, who cited the Talmud that at the end of a person’s life when he stands before God, he will be asked, “Did you transact in faith?” (Shabbos 31a). This is usually understood as asking whether one transacted business honestly. Rabbi Mordechai said that it has an additional meaning. When a person transacts in business, he negotiates and tries in every way to maximize his profit. He does not settle for a meager gain. his is what one will be asked at the end of his life: “Did you transact in faith?” i.e., did you do everything possible to maximize your faith, or did you just accept whatever you were given?
Abraham and Moses transacted in faith. They, of course, knew there was a God. They did not have to have faith in His existence. But they tried to strengthen their faith by coming to an ever greater knowledge of God, and believing even that which they could not see about God.
Some people take their faith in God for granted. Of course they believe that there is a God. But they may not have gone beyond that to try to know more and more about God. We have great works available to us to increase our faith and broaden our concept of God. If we fail to do so, we will have no answer when we are asked, “Did you seek to improve the quality of your faith? Did you transact in faith?”