parashas Lech Lecha 5780 – fifth reading
by Tzvi Schnee
Fear not, Abraham
November 7, 2019
“‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars.'”
Genesis 15:5, JPS 1917 Tanach
Abraham succeeded in his mission in battle, rescuing Lot from the troops of the four kings, who had attacked Sodom, and four other territories; he now thought that an attempt might be made to avenge the humiliation the four kings felt, being thwarted by Abraham and his 318 trained men. Yet, H’Shem told Abraham, “‘Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, thy reward shall be exceeding great.’” (Genesis 25:1, JPS).
This was an opportune time for Abraham to bring up his concern, about being childless: “‘O L-rd G-D, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go hence childless?” (15:3). H’Shem responds, that Abraham’s own child will become his heir.
“And He brought him forth abroad, and said: ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to count them’; and He said unto him: ‘So shall thy seed be.” – Genesis 15:5, JPS
When looking up at the sky, the stars seem to range somewhere near infinity. The promise given to Abraham, concerning his descendants, was demonstrated in this dramatic manner. The expansive sky drew Abraham out of his consternation, into the potential of the future when the promise would be fulfilled. H’Shem fulfills His promises to the righteous.
“He counteth the number of the stars; He giveth them all their names.”
Psalm 147:4, JPS 1917 Tanach