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University of Colorado Boulder Program in Jewish Studies

Shabbat Nugget: Abraham’s Journey

Many people wonder if indeed the Jewish people are the chosen people, why is it that the Jewish people have gone through so much suffering.

In this week’s Torah portion we read about a similar scenario with Abraham, who was the first Jew.

The Torah tells us how G-d revealed himself to Abraham and instructed him to leave his father’s land and travel to Israel. G-d continued to tell him “And I will make you a great nation, I will bless you and make your name great.” However, shortly after Abraham reaches Israel, there is a famine and he is forced to go down to Egypt.  But, he arrived in Egypt, his wife, who was very beautiful, was abducted. How ironic it must have seemed to witness this ambitious monotheist at the mercy of the world’s most prominent bastion of paganism that mocked his every ideal.

Yet, in a miraculous reversal of fortunes, Abraham soon had the Egyptians begging him for mercy and shortly thereafter returned to the land of Israel with greater wealth and a greater reputation.

The same is true regarding the many trials and tribulations that Jews have experienced, although at times we can not understand their purpose, we can rest assured that what seems to be a regression, ultimately, was an integral part of the process leading to the realization of the divine purpose of the Jewish people to transform and elevate the world.

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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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