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he Torah portion last week
described Noah as a righ-
teous and upright man.
Nonetheless, God does not prom-
ise to make Noah into a great and
mighty nation. This seems odd
because He had few choices beside
Noah with whom to begin again.
God apparently sees that Noah is
missing a crucial quality that would
make him a worthy leader.
We can see this by the way
God has to tell Noah to
get into the ark when the
rains come. He has to tell
Noah to take the family. It
appears that Noah is ready
to really start over, all by
Let's contrast this to
Abraham's reaction to God
in this week's portion. God
says to Abraham, "You,
yourself, go to the land
that I will show you, and I
will make of you a great nation?' It
is clear from the Hebrew that God is
speaking to Abraham in the singu-
lar. Abraham, though, does not leave
by himself. He takes his family with
him. He knew that he was nothing
It is important to try new things
in life and look for opportunities
for growth and renewal. We have to
"Go to the land that
I will show you, and
I will make of you a
remember, though, not to
leave our families behind
when we do so — not
physically and not emo-
tionally. One of the ways
we know whether we are
on the right track in our
lives is if the consider-
ation over these changes
includes the well being
of our loved ones. If it
doesn't, the changes are
probably wrong for us,
not just them.
Abraham's greatness, and what
makes him worthy to be the father
of our people, is that he followed his
vision of what was right, but he took
those he loved with him. He helped
them become part of a great nation,
too. I 1
Aaron Bergman is a rabbi at Adat Shalom
Synagogue in Farmington Hills.