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University of Colorado Boulder Program in Jewish Studies
Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

The Birth of a Nation

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner
Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

In this week’s Torah portion, we begin to learn about our Patriarch Abraham.  The portion begins with G-d commanding Abraham to leave his land, his birthplace and his Father’s House and “go to the land that I will show you.”  This command to Abraham took place when Abraham was 75 years old.  The commentators ask why did the Torah begin to tell us about Abraham when he was 75 years of age and skip about telling us about the first part of Abraham’s life which was very heroic?  At a very young age, he came to the realization that there is only one G-d and started teaching people that idol worship is a false religion.  He made such a commotion that King Nimrod tried to kill him and miraculously he was saved.

The answer which is given is that it is precisely because of his heroic acts in the first part of his life, that G-d chose him to be the father of the Jewish nation, a nation which was chosen by G-d to stand at Mount Sinai and receive the revelation of the Torah.  Furthermore not only was Abraham the father of the Jewish nation but, he was the enabler of the Sinaic revelation by beginning the process of service to G-d based on revelation.  This is the reason the Torah begins the narrative of Abraham from the portion of his life in which G-d begins to communicate with him since however great the accomplishments of the first part of his life were, they pale in comparison to his main mission of fathering and enabling the Jewish nation.

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About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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