Avraham Avinu was tested 10 times by Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Through these tests Avraham proved his worthiness to be the father of our great nation and to spread the concept of HaShem’s oneness in the world.
This week’s Parashah begins with Avraham Avinu’s first test. Hashem commands Avraham to leave his land and to travel to an undisclosed land. Of course, this land is Israel. Rashi, in commenting on the seeming redundancy of the word “Lecha” in the phrase “Lech-Lecha” comments that the traveling to Israel is for Avraham’s benefit. Rashi explains that if Avraham stays in Haran he will not merit to having children. However, if he goes to Israel he will merit to having children as the subsequent Pasuk says “And I will Make you into a great nation..”.
Rabbi Pinhas Horowitz asks an interesting question. If Hashem is promising Avraham that going to Israel will be for his benefit then why is it considered a test? It is a no-brainer. G-d not only promised to give Avraham children in Israel but also to make him wealthy and to give him a great name. Why wouldn’t he go? Explains Rabbi Horowitz that the test was to see why Avraham would go. Would he go for the great personal material benefits that awaited him or would he go only in order to fulfill the will of HaShem. The test was not whether or not Avraham would go but rather would he go Leshem Shamayim. And the Pasuk testifies that he went Leshem Shamayim as it says “Vayelech Avram Ka’asher dibber elav Hashem”(Meaning ” And Avram went just as HaShem commanded him”). His motives were purely to please Hashem and to listen to his master in heaven.
From here we see just how important it is to have the right motives. It is not enough just to do the right thing. We must also purify our hearts and act for the sake of Hashem. Let us all strive to do all of our acts Leshem Shamayim.
Have a Shabbat Shalom.