Parshas Lech Lecha

This week we read Parshas Lech Lecha. In the Parsha we read of the World War that was waged between the great powers of the time, pitting four mighty kings against five. The four kings were victorious in battle, and Lot the nephew of Abraham, was taken prisoner. At the time, the Torah tells us that a survivor of this battle came, and informed Abraham that his nephew was taken captive. “And the survivor came, and he told Avraham Haivri (the Ivri) that his nephew was captured. (Genesis 14:13). What is the significance of the name Haivri? The Medrash tells us that this word comes from the root of ever, or side. Abraham is called this name as a praise to him for being able to stand on one side of the world – as the whole world stood on one side, serving idols, and Abraham stood on the other side, serving G-d. Certainly this is a very special merit and tribute to Abraham for being so brave and standing so firm in serving G-d. There certainly is a lesson to us to stand firm in serving G-d against all pressures that may come against us. Why, however, is the name Haivri used over here? Of all the many times that the Torah mentions the name of Abraham, why is this the place that Abraham is called the Haivri?

Who was this survivor of the war who came to tell Abraham about his nephew? Our Sages tell us that this person was Og. His intention was not to help Lot or Abraham. Rather, he was hoping that when he told Abraham about what had happened to Lot, Abraham would go to wage war with the four kings, and be killed. Og would then be able to marry Sara, the wife of Abraham.

If Og was certain that Abraham would be killed, how was he certain that Abraham would agree to go to war and to risk his life? Maybe, realizing how dangerous it was, Abraham wouldn’t go to war?

The answer is, that Og saw the strength of Abraham in facing the entire world, he realized that Abraham was a person who would not back down for anything. That strength and power, Og felt, would give Abraham the resolve and strength to fight the entire world. That is why this concept of being an Haivri is mentioned here.

This strength of being an Haivri is something that we must learn from and incorporate into our own behavior. When we are challenged in our beliefs and subjected to pressures to change them, we must take the strength we have inherited from our Patriarch Abraham, and stand firm in our beliefs and convictions. With this, we all can earn the special title of being Haivri.