It says in this week’s Parsha, Parshat Lech Lecha, ויאמר ה' אל אברם לך לך מארצך... (יב:א), “And Hashem said to Avram ‘Go from your homeland…’.” Rashi learns from the words “Lech Lecha” that Hashem promised Avram that it would be for his benefit to go to the land that He would show him. As the Pasuk itself says ועשך לגוי גדול (יב:ב),“I will make you into a great nation.”
Rabbi Pinchas Horowitz from Frankfurt, the author of the Haflaah, asks the following question on this Rashi. This command of Lech Lecha is counted among the ten tests that Avraham was given by Hashem. If Hashem had in fact promised that Avraham’s trip would not entail any loss to him but would be to his benefit, what was the challenge of the test?
Rabbi Pinchas Horowitz answers that when the Pasuk tells us of Avram’s fulfillment of Hashem’s command it says “Vayelech Avram Kaasher Diber Eilav Hashem.” We learn from here that Avram’s journey was not made for his own benefit but rather to fulfill Hashem’s commandment. Avram was tested at this time as to the way that he fulfilled the command of Hashem. Avram had a choice. He could either go with the intent of receiving the reward that Hashem promised him if he would go, or he could go solely to fulfill the commandment of Hashem, disregarding the material benefit that Hashem had promised.
Therefore the Pasuk testifies that Avraham went, “Kaasher Diber Eilav Hashem,” and his Kavana was not to receive any personal benefit. Thus this journey was indeed one of the ten tests that Avraham was given. He was therefore worthy of the heavenly mission that was bestowed upon him.