Parshas Lech Lecha

This weeks Parsha is Parshas Lech Lecha. In the Parsha this week we learn of several of the ten tests that were given to our Patriach Abraham. The first one described in this Parsha is when Abraham was instructed to leave his father’s home, and to go to the land of Israel. The wording used in the Torah is “Lech Lecha – go for yourself” (Genesis 12:1). What does it mean to go “for yourself”? Our Sages explain that Hashem was telling Abraham that he wouldn’t lose anything by leaving his father’s house, that he only stood to gain from his trip. He was told that by going he would be able to have children, become wealthy, and famous. This promise made it easier for him to leave.

The concept of having a test or challenge, (in Hebrew a nisayon) is a very important one. It is not simply a way for Hashem to “Get us”, or to catch us. Rather, it is a way in which we ourselves improve and become better. Much in the way an athlete exercises and makes his muscles become stronger, overcoming a challenge makes us stronger. By rising to a challenge presented, and doing what we are supposed to, even though it’s not easy, we become better people, and more deserving of reward. In truth, one of the main purposes of our life is to become elevated by successfully facing and overcoming dilemmas and problems that we are faced with. If so, we have to understand the way Hashem presented Abraham with this challenge. Why was Abraham told that by going he would be able to have children, become wealthy, and famous? Why would Hashem make the challenge easier for Abraham and not as powerful as it could be?

There is a very great lesson in this verse. How often is it that we say to ourselves, “This challenge is just too great for me”, or “I just can’t do it.” This is simply not true. Hashem doesn’t present us with a challenge, unless we have the ability to overcome it. By telling Abraham how much he would gain by overcoming his test, Hashem showed us that He gives every detail of a challenge exactly to the point it is at. Abraham’s challenge was exactly hard to a certain point, and not an iota more. If He has determined that a particular test should come to us, it is only because we do have the capacity and ability to rise to the occasion and overcome it.