Lech Lecha 5780

November 6, 2019

“Do not fear Avram for I am a shield for you…”(15:1)

Have you ever wondered why in the first blessing of the Amidah we bless Hashem as the “shield of Avraham”? What exactly is this supposed to mean and why do we specifically mention Avraham as oppose to Yitzchak and Yaakov?

Chassidus explains that Avraham symbolises unbridled kindness. Avraham was a firm believer in seeing the good in everyone and everything. This is why despite the wicked actions of Sodom, Avraham sought to save them from total destruction and pleaded on their behalf to Hashem. This is why later in the parashah, despite Yishmael being a grave sinner Avraham prayed to Hashem that Yishmael should be the one destined to follow in his footsteps. Avraham truly believed that everyone, no matter how far they may have strayed, is worthy of Divine sustenance and mercy.

Therefore, when Hashem refers to Himself in the parashah as a “shield of Avram” He was allegorically referencing to the need of shielding and restricting His own attribute of kindness into this world. Though at face value this may seem cruel, in truth, Hashem is doing us a favour. If Hashem were to indiscriminately distribute kindness and sustenance into this world, then evil would have the strength to live eternally. It is precisely through restricting His kindness to only those that are worthy that limit and weaken the sustenance that is given to evil in this world, thus enabling the strength to battle evil and defeat it.

It is also for this same very reason why in parashas Bereishis Hashem exiled Adam and Chava from Gan Eden, ensuring that they would not now eat from the עץ החיים after eating from the עץ הדעת. Chassidus explains that before Adam and Chava ate from the forbidden fruit, the world was holy and good. There was no need to ban Adam and Chava from the עץ החיים, on the contrary, eating from the עץ החיים ensured that goodness would last forever. However, once they had eaten from the עץ הדעת which introduced evil into this world, Hashem banished Adam and Chava from Gan Eden and kept them at arm’s length from the עץ החיים out of fear that if they were to eat from that too, then evil would also become eternal.

Every morning, Hashem renews His desire to create and sustain this world with boundless acts of Kindness. By reciting the blessing, “Blessed are You Hashem…Who shields Avraham”, we are asking Hashem to limit His sustenance given to evil, thereby giving us the strength to battle the evil and overcome any obstacles in our lives, enabling us to bring Moshiach and thus banishing evil from the face of the earth.