Avraham (8th Day)

October 15, 2021

Upon studying the personas of recently departed contemporary Gedolim, we often become filled with awe and humility seeing how they totally eradicated or subjugated their physical instincts and conducted themselves completely in accordance with the will of Hashem. However, were we to spend a day, or even many years, studying the Avos and Imahos we still would not be able to fathom the depths of their greatness. This is because their greatness is so far beyond anything with which we are familiar. We lack the vocabulary necessary to properly define, explain or describe who those Godly human beings were.

Although the Torah gives us some insight about how the Avos and Imahos served Hashem, our understanding of it is very superficial. On the surface, much of what we know from the pesukim seems mundane; Avraham went to Mitzrayim because there was a famine, Yitzchak busied himself digging wells, Yaakov worked as a shepherd for 14 years and married four wives… Does any of this shed light onto their awesome greatness? No. Because their true essence lies not merely in their outward activities, but in the depths of feelings and intentions contained in these actions.

As a three-year-old, Avraham began to notice Hashem’s hand in everything he saw. He spent the rest of his life pondering what Hashem expected of him and devoted himself completely to Hashem’s service. He worked and strived to improve his character traits, his thoughts and his actions; he continuously perfected his nature, purified and sanctified every aspect of his being, until he turned himself into a personification of Godliness. Avraham’s son Yitzchak followed in his father’s footsteps by dedicating his life to avodas Hashem. His methodology differed from that of his father, but his motivation and devotion were just as strong.

And it didn’t end there; Yitzchak’s son Yaakov continued the tradition of excellence he witnessed in the homes of Avraham and Yitzchak, thus becoming the third consecutive generation of both physical and spiritual perfection. The Avos and Imahos had perfected themselves to a degree unimaginable to us, transforming themselves into completely Godly beings, so that each of their thoughts and actions carried extreme significance. A movement of their arms or nod of their heads impacted the entire creation, up to the loftiest of heavens, and even affected future history.

Although people are not able to pass on their personal accomplishments as a heritage for their children (for example, the daughter of an expert pianist will not inherit her mother’s proficiency), certain talents and traits are traceable to a person’s DNA, and can be passed genetically from generation to generation (the daughter might be born with a highly developed aptitude for music). After Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov had, together with their wives, reached this remarkable madreigah, completely uniting themselves with Godliness, this became an essential part of their being. Once this was reinforced three times, Yaakov was able to bequeath this quality to his children.

It is for this reason that all of his descendants have, hidden within them, a Godly spark – The Pintele Yid – whose sole desire is to fulfill the will of Hashem.

Parshas Lech Lecha famously starts with Avraham’s initial instruction – directions that would eventually pave the way for all his future descendants to come. Living in a world permeated by paganism, controlled by corruption and saturated by selfishness, Avraham gave us, his children, the innate ability to have courage in the face of widespread dissent, to be models of kindness in a society so self-absorbed, and to have unshakeable faith in Hashem – and ONLY in Hashem – no matter what.

It begins with Lech Lecha. It begins with Avraham. That’s why we call him Avinu.

Now, I know we said that musical talent isn’t necessarily hereditary, but in the world or Jewish music there are a few well-known exceptions. 8th Day, the band co-founded by brothers Shmuel and Bentzi Marcus, got their start in Southern California. They, along with their brother Eli, just so happen to be nephews of Avraham Fried and cousins of Benny & Simche Friedman, so I believe it is safe to say that music runs in THIS particular family. With their latest album “Lucky,” the group has now released ten albums, but it was in 2011 that their fourth CD – Chasing Prophecy – would put them on the map to stay. The album contained the viral sensation “Ya’alili,” a cover of Megama’s “Beggar Woman,” as well as today’s featured tune, Avraham.

Wishing each of you a resplendent 7th Day!

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