Lech Lecha, Siman 3 לך לך, ג׳
1 א

וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל אַבְרָהָם לֶךְ לְךָ. זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: שִׁמְעִי בַת וּרְאִי וְהַטִּי אָזְנֵךְ וְשִׁכְחִי עַמֵּךְ וּבֵית אָבִיךְ (תהלים מה, יא). שִׁמְעִי בַת וּרְאִי וְהַטִּי אָזְנֵךְ, זֶה אַבְרָהָם. וְשִׁכְחִי עַמֵּךְ וּבֵית אָבִיךְ (תהלים מה, יא), זוֹ עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה. וְאוֹמֵר: אֹמְרִים לָעֵץ אָבִי אַתָּה וְגוֹ' (ירמיה ב, כז). וְיִתְאַו הַמֶּלֶךְ יָפְיֵךְ (תהלים מה, יב), זֶה מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים, וְהוּא חָפֵץ לְיַפּוֹתוֹ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְלָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. כִּי הוּא אֲדֹנַיִךְ וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִי לוֹ (תהלים מה, יב).

Now the Lord said unto Abram: “Get thee out of thy country.” Scripture says elsewhere in reference to this verse; Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people and thy father’s house; so shall the king desire thy beauty; for he is thy lord; and do homage unto him (Ps. 45:11). Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear alludes to Abraham. Forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house refers to the idolaters, concerning whom it is said: Who say to a stock: “Thou art my father” (Jer. 2:27). And so shall the king desire thy beauty refers to the King of Kings, who desired to glorify your (Abraham’s) name in this world and in the world-to-come. For he is thy lord; and do homage unto him.

2 ב

אָמַר רַבִּי אָבִין, מָשָׁל לִצְלוֹחִית שֶׁל פַּלְיָטוֹן הַנְּתוּנָה בְּבֵית הַקְּבָרוֹת וְלֹא הָיָה אָדָם יוֹדֵעַ רֵיחָהּ. מֶה עָשׂוּ? נְטָלוּהָ וְטִלְטְלוּהָ מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם וְהוֹדִיעוּ רֵיחָהּ בָּעוֹלָם. כָּךְ הָיָה אַבְרָהָם דָּר בְּתוֹךְ עוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, לֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וַאֲנִי אוֹדִיעַ טִבְעֲךָ בָּעוֹלָם. לֶךְ לְךָ, מַהוּ לֶךְ לְךָ, ל' שְׁלֹשִים, כ' עֶשְׂרִים, הֲרֵי עוֹלֶה בְּגִימַטְרִיָּא מֵאָה. רָמַז לוֹ, כְּשֶׁתִּהְיֶה בֶּן מֵאָה, תּוֹלִיד בֵּן כָּשֵׁר, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב, וְאַבְרָהָם בֶּן מְאַת שָׁנָה וְגוֹ' (בראשית כא, ה).

R. Abin said: Abraham may be likened to a flask of oil that had been hidden away in a cemetery, the fragrance of which was unknown to anyone. What did they do with it? They removed it from the cemetery and carried it about from place to place until its fragrance became familiar throughout the world. This happened to Abraham. He dwelt among idolaters, and so the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded him: Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred in order that I may make thy nature known throughout the world. Get thee out of thy country. What is the meaning of lekh lekha (“get thee out”)? Each lamed in these words equals thirty, and each kaf equals twenty, totaling one hundred in all; thereby hinting to Abraham: When you become one hundred years old, you will beget a righteous son, as it is written: And Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him (Gen. 21:5).

3 ג

וְרַבִּי לֵוִי אוֹמֵר, נִסָּיוֹן הָרִאשׁוֹן כַּנִּסָּיוֹן הָאַחֲרוֹן. נִסָּיוֹן הָרִאשׁוֹן, בְּלֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ. נִסָּיוֹן הָאַחֲרוֹן, בְּלֶךְ לְךָ אֶל אֶרֶץ הַמֹּרִיָּה (בראשית כב, ב). אָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא, בֹּא וּרְאֵה חִבָּתוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם לִפְנֵי בוֹרְאוֹ, שֶׁבֶּן שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים הִכִּיר בּוֹרְאוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע אַבְרָהָם וְגוֹ' (בראשית כו, ה), ע' שִׁבְעִים, ק' מֵאָה, ב' שְׁנַיִם, הֲרֵי מֵאָה וְשִׁבְעִים וּשְׁנַיִם, וְכָל יָמָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם מֵאָה וְשִׁבְעִים וְחָמֵשׁ, הָא לָמַדְתָּ, שֶׁבֶּן שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים הִכִּיר אֶת בּוֹרְאוֹ.

R. Levi stated: Abraham’s first trial was similar to his last. The first trial began with the words Get thee out of thy country, and the last began with the words Get thee into the country of Moriah (Gen. 22:2). R. Hanina said: Come and see how much Abraham loved his Creator. When he was only a child of three,5Abraham was forty-eight years old according to Nedarim 32a; Buber Tanhuma, Lekh Lekha 4. Cf. Bereshit Rabbah 30:8. he recognized his Creator, as it is said: Because Abraham hearkened to my voice (ibid. 26:5). The letter ayin in the word akeb (“because”) equals seventy, the letter kaf equals one hundred, and the letter bet equals two, totaling one hundred and seventy-two in all. Since Abraham lived one hundred and seventy-five years, you learn from this fact that he must have been only three years old when he first recognized the Creator.

4 ד

אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ, לֹא אָמַר לוֹ לְמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי, זוֹ נִסָּיוֹן בְּתוֹךְ נִסָּיוֹן. יֵשׁ אָדָם שֶׁהוֹלֵךְ וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לְאֵיזֶה מָקוֹם הוּא הוֹלֵךְ. מֶה עָשָׂה? נָטַל אֶת כֵּלָיו וְאֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָם כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֵלָיו. וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ, אֵין כְּתִיב וַאֲשִׂימְךָ, אֶלָּא וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ. אָמַר לוֹ: אוֹתְךָ אֲנִי בוֹרֵא בְּרִיָּה חֲדָשָׁה, כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָרָקִיעַ (בראשית א, ז), וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת שְׁנֵי הַמְּאֹרֹת וְגוֹ' (בראשית א, טז). אָמַר רַבִּי פִּנְחָס הַכֹּהֵן בַּר חָמָא, אֵימָתַי עָשָׂה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת אַבְרָהָם לְגוֹי גָדוֹל, מִשֶּׁקִּבְּלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁכֵּן מֹשֶׁה אָמַר לָהֶם: וּמִי גּוֹי גָּדוֹל וְגוֹ' (דברים ד, ח).

Unto the land that I will show you (Gen. 12:1). The Holy One, blessed be He, did not mention any specific place. This indicates that this was a trial within a trial, as in the case of a man who embarks upon a journey without being aware of his destination. What did Abraham do? He took his possessions and his wife and departed: And Abraham went, as the Lord had spoken to him (ibid., v. 4). And I will make of thee a great nation (ibid., v. 2). It is not written “I will establish you up as a great nation,” but I will make you a great nation; that is, I will create anew, as indicated by the verse And God made the firmament (ibid. 1:7); And God made the two great lights (ibid., v. 16). R. Phinehas the priest, the son of Hama said: When did the Holy One, blessed be He, make Abraham into a great nation? He did so when Israel accepted the Torah. Thus Moses proclaimed concerning them: For what great nation is there (Deut. 4:8).