Vayera: Why Hashem Loved Avraham
וד' אמר המכסה אני מאברהם אשר אני עשה ואברהם היו יהיה לגוי גדול ועצום ונברכו בו כל גויי הארץ כי ידעתיו למען אשר יצוה את בניו ואת ביתו אחריו ושמרו דרך ד' לעשות צדק ומשפט למען הביא ד' על אברהם את אשר דבר עליו.
And Hashem said, “Shall I conceal from Avraham what I do, now that Avraham is surely to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? For I have loved him, because he commands his children and his household after him that they keep the way of Hashem, doing charity and justice, in order that Hashem might then bring upon Avraham that which He had spoken of him”.
Avraham Avinu had an undeniably impressive portfolio. He believed in Hashem, passed all his tests, and was prepared to give up his life for Hashem. But Rav Elya Lopian zt”l points out that of all his special qualities, the reason given for Hashem’s love of Avraham was none of these. It was that he commands his children and his household after him. The fact that Avraham influences his children and household to follow in the ways of Hashem was so important that it eclipses all his other accomplishments.
Parenthetically -- Rav Elya adds that this insight gives us even more appreciation for the challenge that the Akeidah was. Yes, Avraham heard the command to offer up his son directly from Hashem. Of course, he would obey it. But the awesome test was that Avraham is essentially being asked to give up the main reason for Hashem’s love of him, for if he slaughters Yitzchok, there will be no children and no household to teach and influence!
We return to the original thought, that this was why Hashem told Avraham about the imminent destruction of Sedom, so that he should daven for them and thereby demonstrate to his household the importance of caring about others, taking responsibility for others, and doing whatever possible to help them.
How foolish are those who question “What do the Torah Scholars do for the world? And how are they benefiting me?” On the contrary, the true Talmid Chacham lives for others, and is constantly thinking of others. If only there were some righteous living in Sedom, the city would have been saved on their account. (Sanhedrin 99b)
May we learn from Avraham’s example of being true Avdei Hashem, who serve Hashem with all our might, and be a role model to help others achieve the same!
Have a wonderful Shabbos!