לך לך

This week’s parsha introduces us to Avram and Sarai and the events in their lives leading up to the eventual birth of their son Yitzchak.  The other main human character in the story is Avram’s nephew Lot, who parts ways with his uncle after they both gain so much livestock that they cannot continue to live in close proximity (13:6).  A fight between their respective shepherds leads to the realization that they must go their separate ways, but there is a curious addendum in the verse that begs to be interpreted.  The verse, in whole, states: “And there was a fight between the shepherds of Avram and the shepherds of Lot; and the Canaanite and the Parazite were then in the land” (13:7, translation mine).  Sforno offers a novel interpretation, in which he says: “[Why do we need to know who lived in Canaan at the time?] And therefore the fight between the two brothers [Avram and Lot], strangers in the land, assaulted the sensibilities of the inhabitants, as if these strangers fought even amongst themselves as brothers, they must be hot-tempered – and so they might be expected, all the more so, to pick a fight with the inhabitants” (translation mine).  This is a very humanizing light in which to view the indigenous Canaanite nations, as it seems to imply that, had they not been worried for their own safety, they would have been happy to welcome the strangers into their communities.  This story is a practical reminder to always put our best foot forward, as first impressions can have far-ranging repercussions, even in dealing with our internal community issues.

Be careful to act

Peacefully; you never know

Who might be judging

 

 

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