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    Abraham our father, Moses our teacher – Lech L’cha

    In Jewish tradition Abraham is Avinu, Our Father. Moses is Rabbenu, Our Teacher.

    Why can’t we exchange the two titles and call Avraham the teacher and Moshe the father?

    Because each has his own role in history.

    Recalling Rav Soloveitchik’s distinction between the covenant of fate and the covenant of faith, Abraham represents our fate, our history, our destiny as a people, whilst Moshe represents faith, ideology, ideas – a system of observances and halachah.

    It would be much easier if we could identify ourselves as Jews by saying simply that the Jews are an ethnicity or merely a religious denomination, but that wouldn’t be true to the facts.

    You can’t call us an ethnicity without a religious dimension, nor can you say we are merely a religious denomination without peoplehood. We are an intimate fusion of the two, to use Eugene Borowitz’s term.

    There are some who prioritise the ethnicity, and their logo (as it were) is to be the family of fate symbolised by Avraham; there are some who prioritise the religious aspect symbolised by the faith of Moshe.

    We are a unique combination, not Avraham without Moshe or Moshe without Avraham.

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