Lech L’cha – Thank G-d We Were Born Jewish

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Let your imagination flow freely for a moment. Imagine you were born in a small town down south. Your parents are devout Catholics, as are all the people in your town. You attend a good Catholic school which teaches you all about the Catholic religion. Every Sunday your parents take you to church to pray. Never in your life have you heard about Hashem or the Jewish religion. What chances are there that you would suddenly wise up and realize that all that your parents are teaching you, and all that your priests in school teach you is totally false? It’s completely meaningless. Would you ever think of questioning what people far older than you say is the true religion? Would you dispute what all the wise men and professors’ say is the real thing? Probably not! After all, you would probably do what everybody else does, whether you understand the reason or not. Why be different? If that’s what everybody believes in then it must be true. Why even bother questioning it?

Beside, being different is certainly very difficult. It would mean fighting your parents, friends, and everybody else. Who’s looking for trouble? Just do what everybody does. It makes life a lot easier! So what if it doesn’t make sense? Big deal. Who cares? You can’t fight the establishment. Besides, would it really make a difference to you what or whom you worship? Would you care if it made sense or not? You never studied philosophy. How are you supposed to figure out that what everybody is doing is wrong. These are people much older than you. These are people much wiser than you. You’re busy watching television or playing baseball. You’re certainly not too concerned or too interested to find out who the real G-d is! So, if things don’t make too much sense, who cares? Even if you’re convinced that all you’re being taught is foolish nonsense, why tip the apple cart? It’s not going to make any difference, is it? Why fight and argue with everybody and make lots of enemies over nothing.

Just imagine what would happen if you told your parents that you refuse to go to church with them, or you refuse to go to Catholic school anymore because you believe that everything you are being taught is just a big bunch of nonsense. You’d be asking for real trouble! You’d be called a real weird and sent to a psychologist for some counseling to set you straight. Or perhaps a few slaps across your face and a good hard spanking will set you straight. After all, you can’t fight the entire establishment. How can a young kid like you dare refute what everybody else says is the truth? Who do you think you are?

It’s nearly impossible for us to imagine the difficult time little Avrohom must have had living in a generation of paganism, where nearly everybody believed and worshipped idols. Can one imagine the courage it took? Freedom of expression wasn’t too popular. He would be called crazy, a fanatic, a wimp. He would be totally ostracized from society. He was put into jail for his weird beliefs! They in fact threatened to throw him into a blazing hot fire unless he’d retract his beliefs. Who needs all these problems? Why get killed because of some theory about there being just one G-d, just one creator of heaven and earth?

Yet, Avrohom’s belief was so strong that he was willing to die rather than forsake his belief in the one true G-d. He couldn’t live a life of hypocrisy, a life of falseness. It didn’t make one bit of difference to him what everybody else said. He was ready to suffer any consequences for his belief, even if that meant giving up his own life. There may have been other people who didn’t believe in the Avodah Zoroh, yet they kept their ideas to themselves. They certainly didn’t dare express their opinion in public, nor were they ready to give up their lives for what they thought was the truth.
Only because Avrohom was so steadfast in his belief and was ready to give up his very life for it, was he zoche that Hashem revealed Himself to him. Even today, the Jewish people are still a very tiny minority in the world full of false beliefs. The Jew is downtrodden and hated by most nations. He’s not wanted anywhere. We’re despised and ridiculed wherever we go. Yet, we must draw a sense of inspiration from our great forefather Avrohom, who was only one against everybody. He was called Ivri because he was on one side, while everybody else was against him. Yet, he stood steadfast in his belief and couldn’t care less what they would do to him.

Certainly we, who received the Torah on Har Sinai, where Hashem revealed Himself to us and made us His nation and gave us the Mitzvos, do not have to be frightened by the world’s threats. We know, without the slightest doubt, that we have Hashem on our side to protect us. How happy we must be that He has chosen us from amongst all the nations and given us the Torah. How happy we must be when we make the Brocho shelo usanee goy and that Hashem made us be frum Jews. Just imagine chas v’sholom how empty our lives would be without it.

How thankful we are for all that Hashem has given us. How tragic it would have been if we had chas v’sholom been born goyim.

And so we end each davening with aleinu lishabeach, in which we praise Hashem for not making us like all other nations who worship idols, but rather how lucky we are that we are able to serve and bow to the true Hashem of heaven and earth.