Activate Your Activism

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Lech Lecha Activism v2

“Save the world to save your life.”

Read the text of the Avram story in Lech L’cha, and you notice something remarkable. At first, Avram is super passive.

• God says “Go” and Avram just goes without saying a word.
• God appears to Avram in Canaan and promises that Avram’s children will get the land. Abram builds an altar and passively calls out to God.
• There was a famine in Canaan so Avram just goes to Egypt.
• The Pharaoh kidnaps his wife and Avram seems to be okay with this until a plague afflicts the Pharaoh.
• Avram’s shepherds quarrel with Lot’s. Avram doesn’t want to fight, so they just part ways.
• Then God tells Avram to get up and walk the perimeter of the land. Avram pitches his tent instead.
• A massive war between 9 kings are fighting a massive war. Avram seems oblivious.

Then…

Avram hears his beloved Lot is a prisoner of war and all of a sudden he is full of energy. He chases Lot’s captors and rescues Lot after a nighttime battle.

From this point on, Avram has lots of opinions and is very engaged in the community and he speaks a lot and perhaps he finally does take that spirit walk around Israel. Something woke the sleeping giant inside Avram and he become the Avraham we know.

Next week we will read all about Avraham’s kindness and righteousness. But it all seemed so unlikely when we first met Avram, until the moment Avram is activated in the heat of that moment when he is told Lot is in trouble.

That fugitive messenger was most likely filled with dread, passion, excitement, and energy. It was contagious. He lit something inside Avram, and it forever changed Avram from a passive, obedient servant, to a feisty activist.

People are not born activists. The activist who is trying to change the world was activated by someone, something, at some time, and that gave them the spark they needed to do more than they ever dreamed possible.

The act of saving Lot, activated Avram, and he became the activist that changed the world. It’s just like they said in Heroes: “Save one life, save the world.”

Rabbi Eliyahu Fink is the founder of shulontheinternet.com.
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