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A Lesson of Character – Rabbi Chaim Albert

October 15th, 2010 · No Comments

It’s exciting to bring our readers great insight and lessons from this week’s Torah portion, Lech-Lecha in Genesis, written by Rabbi Chaim Albert. We’re looking forward to providing a weekly Torah portion update. So, let’s jump right into it…Shabbat Shalom

What is the true indication of a person’s character? Is it the way he plays sports, uses her money, how he behaves when angry? All of life’s adversities provide an opportunity to build character, yet from where does it come? As parents, we consider motivations and how best to guide our children.

Abraham, our forefather, had a life characterized by moral dilemmas. As a youngster, he decided to disrespect his father and smash the family idols. As a father, he was willing to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac to G-d. Yet Chazal tell us his most challenging test might have come in this week’s Parsha.

Abraham is commanded to leave the familiarity of his homeland and travel to unknown Israel. It is perplexing to think that moving could be considered more difficult than sacrificing his only son. With that, Abraham is promised eternal wealth and fame as a reward for his move to this new land. An opportunity to relocate for eternal fame and fortune!

Abraham’s true test was to retain his pure intentions. Would he move for wealth and glory, or could he simply relocate out of his love for G-d? When large rewards are promised, it is difficult for some to remain of pure intent. It was Abraham’s unbridled love for G-d that enabled him to relocate his family, and carried him through a life of triumph over tests.

One of the greatest challenges in learning is to find the most effective motivations. At times, incentives may be helpful, but the purist way to teach children is to help them see the value of learning. Empowering children to taste what it is like to think independently, to inquire, to reflect and to take risks is when learning becomes fun. These are true Torah values and part of our IB Learner Profile.

Chazal teach us that the purest level is to study Torah Lishma- solely for the sake of learning. May we all become caught in the passion for learning with the purist of intentions.

written and contributed by:
Rabbi Chaim Albert
Rabbinic Head
The Samuel Scheck Hillel Community Day School
The Ben Lipson Hillel Community High School
The Juda and Maria Diener Elementary School|The Henrietta Scheck Middle School

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