Thursday, 3 November 2011

Lech Lecha: The Involvement of Self

From the archives of Nishma's Online Library at, we have chosen an article that relates to the week's parsha, both to direct you to this dvar Torah but also for the purposes of initiating some discussion.

This week's parsha is Lech Lecha and the topic is the self. We invite you to look at an article on this topic at


Avraham said...

Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch[8] understands the word lecha as a call for isolation.
rebbi nachman had a relaed idea. he did not base it on this verse but on one was avaraham. His idea was that avaraham served God only by considering himself to be alone in the world. This would be nothing but an interesting historical perspective, except for the fact that Rebbi Nachman then went on to say that no one can come close to God without serving God in this exact same way and not looking on obstacles from the people of the world that try to prevent him from serving God.
Here Rebbi Nachman is establishing principle of individualism and personal autonomy.
The implications of this are vast.

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

The idea of serving God in isolation is a most interesting one for it challenges what many believe to be the prime directive of religion, i.e. to better treat their fellow human being. This is not to say that I necessarily disagree with these opinions but they are of more substantial interest when one considers the value of social consideration of others within Torah. It is also significant to recognize the variant different views of autonomy that is introduced by this consideration. Does autonomy refer to the power of decision making or the focus on the effect on the individual of God's Presence?