In this week’s Parsha, we see Avram become the first person in his generation to accept Hashem as his only God. Before this point, all the people of the world had worshipped idols and believed that many gods ruled the world. Rabbi Abraham Twersky asks how it is possible that others did not realize the absurdity of idolatry. To answer this question, Rav Twersky says one should notice that Avraham was known for exemplifying the trait of Chessed. What is the connection between these two concepts? If someone decides to worship a man-made god, which requires minimal work, it shows that he does not want to commit himself to becoming the type of person that has a set of morals befitting a worshipper of the true God. However, if someone is able to act morally, he shows a willingness to put his own desires aside and to act in a way that may be less comfortable for him but nonetheless moral.
We see this on a greater scale when Avraham is willing to sacrifice Yitzchak. Obviously Avraham reached the level that allowed him to focus exclusively on that which Hashem told him to do. The lesson of this Parsha, Rav Twersky asserts, is that not all idol worshippers necessarily bow down to these idols. Anyone who puts his own desires before the will of Hashem can indeed be categorized as an idolater. Although this may seem frightening, it is comforting to know that this works both ways: if one puts the will of Hashem before his own will (as illustrated here by the Chessed of Avraham), he can be considered, at least in this sense, to be on the level of Avraham in terms of proper devotion directed towards the right cause. This is clearly something that we all must learn as a fundamental requirement for proper commitment to Hashem.