of Rav Hirsch's commentary on these three pasukim is as
more closely, the whole sum of Jewish history is given to
Abraham in a nutshell in these three sentences.
In the first verse, Abraham appears merely as an
individual "dare to be alone, to stand by
the second verse, the nation already appears, but still by
itself and without external contact or relation to the rest
of the world. In
the third verse, the Jewish nation is shown in connection
with other nations, the blessing of Abraham is already
dependent on others blessing him, yea others can already
venture to curse him. Abraham's
task was to isolate himself, to live alone with God.
Then a second stage, to create a people out of this
Abraham. If it
is to come to pass that the existence of this people is to
be a second creation of God's in history, then this people
can only come to be a nation by way of homelessness.
God can bless people and nations, but that they
should attain such a spiritual greatness to become called a
model man, a model nation, that God can only wish, that
depends on the faithful loyalty which is given to the laws
of God. In the same way it does not say "to be blessed" but
rather "become a blessing."
In these words, the whole moral task is summarized,
the accomplishment of which is the condition for the
fulfillment of God's wish.
"O that your name should become great, that you
become a blessing."
I would make you into a nation to which other nations
have only to look to become conscious of what their task is,
and this task, which you are to accomplish, in contrast to
the efforts of all other nations, is "to become a
others strive, not to be a blessing, but rather to be
this is especially the case with nations.
The honesty, humanity and love which one still
demands from individuals is regarded as folly in the
relation of nation to nation, have no meaning in diplomacy
and politics. Deception
and murder which in individuals lead to prison and gallows,
if exercised on a grand scale in the "interests of the
state" are crowned with laurel and medals.
The Abrahamitic nation is to know nothing of these
national institutions, is to have no national politics and
no political economy. The
One Who would be the bearer of their national prosperity
need be given no subsidies, has not to reckon on any
coalitions or treaties.
At His command rain and sunshine, strength and life,
power and victory stand.
In the midst of a world of men who . . . make
self-aggrandizement and ruthless extension of their own
well-being the deciding goal for all their efforts, the
People of Abraham are, in private and public life, to follow
the one calling: to
become a blessing. To
dedicate themselves with all devotion to the Divine purpose
of bringing happiness to the world and mankind, thereby as
models, to re-establish Man to its original pure calling of
Adam, then God will grant His blessing to fresh activity of
life and to the awakening and education of the nations to
similar efforts and make the name of the People of Abraham
shine forth far afield.
This second stage was to have become a reality in the
Land of Israel, there Israel was to have become in its
isolation not only the blessed nation, but in the first
place, the spreader of blessing, a source of blessing, a
well from which the world would draw its blessing.
Had we lived up to our mission, then all that, which
only beckons to us, in the distant future, would have been
realized thousands of years ago, and the history of the
world would have worn a very different aspect.
How interesting it is that, even in this third Parashah of the Torah, the concept of Klal Yisrael becoming a light to the nations is apparent. Although Rav Hirsch points out that this should have been accomplished thousands of years ago, no less important is this concept and commandment today. In fact, it seems obvious that the world, and the blessings of and to the world, wait on Klal Yisrael fulfilling this mission.
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