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In this week’s Torah Portion, Lech Lecho, we are told that “After these incidents, the word of the Hashem came to Avrom in a vision, saying, ‘Do not fear, Avrom; I am your Shield! Your reward is extremely great.
To which incidents was the Torah referring? Why did Hashem mention Avrom’s merit? Rashi explains that the incidents referred to were Avrom’s miraculous victory over the kings. In Rashi’s words, “After this miracle had been wrought for him, that he slew the kings, he was worried and said, ‘Perhaps I have received the reward for all my righteous deeds.’ Therefore, Hashem said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Avrom, I am your Shield’ from punishment. You will not be punished for all those souls that you have slain. As far as your being worried about receiving reward, your reward is exceedingly great.”
Avrom’s reward was indeed exceedingly great. Yet we need to understand why that made a difference to him. The Rambam writes that “one who serves Hashem out of love … he is occupied with Torah and Mitzvos … neither due to any ulterior motive … nor to inherit that which is good. He performs that which is good simply because it is good. This is an extremely lofty level. It is the level of our forefather Avrohom, who served G-d purely out of love.” This being the case, why would he worry about having used up his merit? We see that merit, or reward meant nothing to him.
The explanation is, that in fact the reward in and of itself was not a consideration for Avrom. He was fully prepared to do whatever it took to serve Hashem, with or without reward. In his mind the reward served only one purpose. It would be a great sanctification of G-d’s name for all to see the incredible reward which Hashem showered upon him.
We inherit our abilities from our forefathers. They are the source of our Jewish DNA. We are all the recipients of great rewards. May we all use our ability to serve G-d under any and all circumstances. Through this we will certainly merit the complete and true redemption now. May all of our actions be for the sake of Hashem’s honor, bringing the complete and true redemption.
Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
DEDICATED BY HIS SON-IN-LAW AND DAUGHTER
RABBI SHMUEL AND RIFKA שי’MENDELSOHN
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ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י חתנו ובתו שיחיו
הרה”ת ר’ שמואל ורבקה שי’ מענדלסאהן
. Our Parshah, Bereishis 15:1.
. Rambam, Laws of Teshuvah, Chapter 10 Section 2. See also his Commentary to the Mishnah, Tractate Sanhedrin, Chapter Chelek in the introduction. See as well his Book of Commandments, Positive Commandment Number 3.