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    Off to the land – Lech L’cha

    Abraham's journey to Canaan, by József Molnár, 1850

    Avraham is told to leave his home and go to the land which God will show him.

    The re-location has two partners – God and Avraham himself; one gives the command, one carries it out.

    Actually, there is a third partner, the land itself.

    This idea is used in a story about Rabbi Chayyim Volozhiner.

    Two litigants came to him with a dispute about a parcel of land. Each presented his case and rebutted the claims of his opponent.

    Suddenly the rabbi bent down and put his ear to the ground. Everybody wondered what he was doing.

    Rabbi Chayyim explained, “You are both arguing loudly that the land is yours, so I decided to hear the land’s point of view”.

    In amazement the litigants asked, “Can a rabbi really have a conversation with the land? Can one really hear what the land has to say?”

    Rabbi Chayyim answered them, “I’ll tell you what the land said to me. Its words are, ‘Neither party can really claim me. On the contrary; in a while I will claim both of them!'”

    A good story. Its relevance to the Avraham episode?

    The land has a view about who will inhabit it. Only if the patriarch’s descendants look after it properly will they enjoy dwelling there. Otherwise they will end up in the land and not on it.

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