the Perseverence of Abraham
Genesis 12:14 – 13:4
November 4, 2019
“And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was sore in the land.”
- Genesis 12:10, JPS 1917 Tanach
Abraham passed ten tests during his lifetime. The first was leaving his country, relatives and father’s house behind him. The second was taking a detour to Egypt when a famine occurred in the land. He could have got immediately discouraged; instead, he abided in emunah (faith), knowing that H’Shem (the L-RD) would not abandon him. For the righteous will never be abandoned by H’Shem in times of famine (Midrash Tanchuma, Mikeitz 6:2).
Words of wisdom, applicable to our own lives, inasmuch that if we trust in H’Shem, for example, when our “creature comforts” are diminished, we will survive. Implications abound: feeling blue, trust in H’Shem; having a bad day, trust in H’Shem; under the weather – trust that the clouds will lift, and solace will return.
Abraham believed in the promise given to him by H’Shem, despite any apparent setbacks. On a spiritual level, he went down to Egypt (12:10), and was sustained by H’Shem; when he left Egypt, he went up from Egypt (13:1), implying a spiritual ascent.
“Many are the ills of the righteous, but the L-RD delivereth him out of them all.”
– Psalm 34:20, JPS 1917 Tanach
“This poor man cried, and the L-RD heard, and saved him out of all his troubles.”
-Psalm 34:7, JPS 1917 Tanach
The Hebrew shoresh (root word), anah, translated as “poor” in the above mentioned verse, may also be rendered as “afflicted” or “humble.” This gives additional meaning to the verse; certainly, the afflicted cry out to H’Shem; yet, also, the humble man, who recognizes his limitations.