We Are Family – Weekly Words of Torah, Parshat Lech-Lecha 5774

Insights into Parshat Lech Lecha of Mr. Jacob Herenstein of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.

In this week’s Parsha we encounter the famous story of the 4 kings vs. the 5 kings. The five kings decided to attack the four kings. The king of Sodom was part of the four kings. The 5 kings captured Sodom and took all its possessions and inhabitants. Among these was Lot, Avram’s nephew.

In 14:14, when Avram heard that his “brother,” Lot, was captured, he immediately took his entire household, 318 people, and went to save Lot. He risked everything he had just to save 1 person.

So the question is asked: why does the Torah refer to Lot as Avram’s “brother?” We know that Avram had 2 brothers, Nachor and Haran. Lot was Nachor’s child, making him Avram’s nephew?!

The Torah uses the Lashon “Achiv,” “brother,” because of the concept “Kol Yisrael Arevin Ze La’Ze,” “all of Klal Yisrael has responsibility for one another”. We, the Jewish people, are all brothers. When one of us falls, we all fall. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.

In October 2011, when it was announced that Gilad Shalit was going to be released, everyone was celebrating and was exuberant with joy. Why were hundreds of thousands of people celebrating for the return of 1 soldier? It is because we are a family, so we reacted as if it was our own brother being returned.

This is what the Pasuk is telling us. In all aspects of life–be it Talmud Torah, work, sports, school–we, as the Jewish nation, are a family, and when one person fails, we all fail. Therefore, the lesson we can all learn from Avram is that Ben Adam Le’Chavero is something that cannot be taken lightly and we have to constantly strive to improve our interactions Ben Adam Le’Chavero, and by doing that, we are turning Am Yisrael into a real family.