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Monday, Mar-Cheshvan 5, 5782 / October 11, 2021


In the beginning of this week’s Parsha, Lech L'cha, G-d commands Abraham, at age 75, to leave his land, his birthplace and his father’s house, and go to the land which He will show him. The Land will later become the Land of Israel. Abraham takes his wife, Sarah (that time she was still called Sarai), who was 65, and his nephew, Lot, and leaves for the unknowen land. G-d promises Abraham, “And I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great… I will bless those who will bless you and those that curse you will I curse;and in you shall all the families of the earth bless themselves." 


Throughout the Parsha we read about the many trials and tribulations which Abraham and Sarah endured.  Yet, they withstood all the tests and didn't waiver in their faith in G-d. 


The Mishna (Pirkei Avot, chapter 5) says, "Our forefather Abraham was tested with ten trials and he withstood them all, to show the degree of our forefather Abraham's love for G-d."  The ten tests according to Maimonides are as follows:


1.  At the age of 75, G-d commands Abraham to move to an unknown land.


2.  There is a famine in the new land and Abraham and Sarah have to move again, this time to Egypt.


3.  In Egypt, Sarah is taken from Abraham to King Pharaoh against her will.


4.  His nephew, Lot, is captured and Abraham wages war against four mighty kings to save him.


5.  G-d promised that a great nation will come from them, yet, Sarah doesn’t have any children.


6.At the age of 99, Abraham is commanded to circumcise.


7.  Sarah is forcefully taken to king Avimelech's palace.


8.  Abraham has to expel Hagar, mother of Ishmael.


9.  Abraham is forced to expel his son, Ishmael.


10.G-d commands Abraham to bring his beloved son Isaac, at age 36, as a sacrifice.


Why did G-d test Abraham?  The Midrash explains this with the following analogy. A potter will bang or squeeze on his wares as a way of showing his customers that his product is strong.  But he will only do this with a pot that he knows can withstand the beating and pressure. He will not test a pot which is not capable of surviving. The same was with the tests which G-d gave Abraham and Sarah.  Their tests proved their strength and made them even stronger when they passed their tests.


Torah is an everlasting lesson for each of us. Life is full of tests. Everyone has his/her tests. We too, should view a test not as a negative, but as a positive. We can do without them but when G-d does put us through tests, He wants to prove our strength and make us even stronger, when we pass our tests.