Receive weekly insights from the Chief Rabbi
Office of the Chief Rabbi

Lech Lecha: Jewish History in a Nutshell

Share this article:


Jewish history in a nutshell. This is what is presented to us at the commencement of Parshat Lech Lecha (Bereishit 12:3), when Hashem gives seven blessings to Avraham, the founder of our faith. Two of those blessings are:

“Umekalellecha a’or,” – Hashem says, “I will curse those who curse you,”

“Venivrechu becha kol mishpachot ha’adamah.” – “and all families on earth will be blessed by you and your descendents.

Why do these two blessings appear alongside one another? The sefer Mayana Shel Torah suggests that sometimes we might be exceptionally kind to a person – sometimes that person might even depend upon our kindness for his or her existence – yet not only is there no appreciation for that kindness, but they actually give us a lot of trouble. This, Hashem says, is what will happen to the Jewish people through the ages.

“Umekalellecha a’or,” – “I will curse those who curse you.”

Sadly there will sometimes be nations who will curse the Jewish people; who will hate us and resent us for our very existence.

“Venivrechu becha kol mishpachot ha’adamah,”

This will happen even though we, the Jewish people, give a contribution of inestimable value wherever we are in the world. Here we have Jewish history in a nutshell. So very often there will be deep appreciation and true friendship that we will benefit from, but sometimes there will be darkness for the Jewish people as a result of the trouble that we will endure. But don’t worry, says Hashem! You can’t have light without shade, and no shade can destroy that light.

Despite the darkness that the Jewish nation will endure, I will guarantee, says Hashem, that you, the Jewish people, will continue to shed shine a light for the world indefinitely. Am Yisrael Chai, the Jewish nation will live on forever.

So therefore let us not allow the ingratitude of some to stop us from giving kindness to others and let us, as a nation, not allow the darkness that sometimes exists for us to stop us from fulfilling the blessing given to Abraham: Venivrechu becha kol mishpachot ha’adamah; for us to be a continuous blessing for everyone on earth through the contribution that we must give always to our environment.

Shabbat shalom.



To receive weekly insights directly from the Chief Rabbi, subscribe using the form below.