One Step At a Time by Yoni Schwartz


The famous first Pasuk of Parashat Lech Lecha states, “VaYomer Hashem El Avram, Lech Lecha MeiArtzecha UMiMoladetecha UMiBeit Avicha,” “And Hashem said to Avram, depart from your land, your birth place, and from your father’s house” (BeReishit 12:1). Nearly every commentator questions Hashem’s command. How could He ask Avram to drop everything he grew up with to live in a completely new world? How could He expect that much blind faith?

We can understand the commandment better after answering a famous question which many pose regarding this verse. The order of locations in the Pasuk is reversed from the norm; typically, a person first departs from his father's house, then his birth place, and finally his homeland. However, the verse states it in just the opposite order. It is teaching us a tremendous lesson regarding God’s endless kindness. Hashem never requests of a person something that is not within that person’s ability. When God asked Avram to leave the comfort of his environment, it was truly a test of his faith. However, Hashem made this request in a progressive style, from least to greatest difficulty as evident from the verse. This was done to show Avram how much consideration God has for the feelings of a human being. This seemingly impossible request was made with tremendous kindness, to make Avram feel comfortable. Hashem did not want him to feel as though his entire life would be changing in one moment. Therefore, He eased Avram into his new life and made him comfortable while performing the Ratzon Hashem.

In our lives, we must develop spiritually in a progressive manner step by step, instead of trying to jump the entire ladder at once. If God was kind and understanding to Avram in this regard, shouldn't we be just as kind to ourselves when dealing with how we progress from level to level spiritually? Only little by little can a person grow spiritually. Huge jumps towards levels that we are not ready for will end in failure. The Vilna Ga’on explains that there are times when a person begins to go on the proper path and afterwards abandons his undertaking because it is too hard. This person might blame God for his failures. However, the individual himself is truly at fault, as he desired to jump to the highest level all at once.

We must not jump to high levels which are beyond our capabilities. Rather, we need to follow in Hashem's footsteps and imitate His manner of treating Avram. Through this challenging process, we will reach the ultimate goal of closeness with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

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