Avrohom the Great Unifier

Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Parshas Lech Lecha

Time Magazine ran a fascinating article entitled “Abraham; a journey to the heart of three faiths”. The article reviewed a book by author Bruce Feiler, who had a brainstorm. We are at a juncture in history, he stated, where not only in the Middle East but also in the whole world, we need to find something, anything, that will unify us. Feiler has a new answer: “Abraham”! The great Biblical character that is revered by everyone and prophet to us all. Avraham Avinu was the first Jew. He was the father of Yishmoel and the Patriarch of Christianity. All of the warring parties trace themselves back to the same yichus. Avrohom, Feiler explains, should reappear in our generation and his very personage should unite the world.

Sounds good, but it won’t work. Not only won’t it work but ironically Avraham Avinu has actually been the source of all the current conflict. The Arabs claim that Israel belongs to them because Abraham gave it to them. The Christians claim that Paul took the world back to Abrahamatic times when belief, not deed, was the essence of a relationship with G-d. It was only after Abraham that everything started to go crazy. And of course we Jews know the truth: Avraham was a Jew! So the world is at war. Jews were thrown out of countries in the name of Abraham. Busses are blown up in the name of Abraham. Jewish settlers occupy Judea and Samaria in the name of Abraham. Planes fly into buildings all in the name of Abraham.

Hava Amina (this must be sung) that Avrohom is the great unifier – ko mashma lun the whole world is fighting in the name of Avrohom. So as my kids would say, “Whas up wit dat, Abba?” (sic)

Here is the answer. It is not sufficient to trace your history and roots to Abraham we have to act like Abraham! Avrohom Avinu was a pillar of chesed. His home was open. He was a pillar of integrity – he would never accept a dime from anyone so it should not be said, “Ani heesharti es Avrohom.” He risked his life for G-d and other people.

“A person is obliged to say, When will my lifestyle reach the lifestyle of Abraham.” Forget the history, which of course we know is the truth, and spend time emulating. Nominate Yaacov Haber for the Peace prize, because I have the answer: If everyone would be like Avrohom instead of being from Avrohom, we would have peace.

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