Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Hashem commands Avram to get up and go. Avram didn't know how, when , why, where, for what...but he went. So possuk dalet says VAYELECH AVRAM...VEYELECH EETO LOT...AVRAM WENT... AND LOT WENT WITH HIM... then, right in the next possuk, we have VAYIKACH AVRAM ES SARAI ISHTO...AVRAM TOOK SARAI HIS WIFE. 
I once heard a question on this from Rabbi Zev Leff, which I'll reiterate.
Avram went. We got that. Why is he suddenly leaving again in the next possuk? Ok, so maybe he forgot something that he went back for. Maybe he left something on the stove. Maybe he forgot his passport. Ok, these things happen.  But, the possuk seems to indicate that he left... HIS WIFE?!? And you think you're spaced out? What exactly happened here? Why did he have to go back for his wife?
VAYIKACH, which means and he took, doesn't necessarily mean that he took them physically. Of course, when he left the first time Sarai was with him. RASHI teaches us that the word VAYIKACH means kachnu b'dvarimthey were taken with words. Along the way, Avram found it necessary to give his wife a little pep talk. They were embarking upon a new path. They were about to begin a new life, full of adjustments, full of difficulties, a lifestyle completely different than what they had been accustomed to. And Sarai, like every human being, needed a bit of encouragement.
A businessman was running toward the subway station. At the entrance to the station, he paused to put a few coins into the cup of a man selling pencils, and then ran onto the train. Thinking again, he jumped back off, went to the beggar, and took some pencils from his cup. Apologizing, he explained that he was in a hurry and forgot to pick up his pencils, and he hoped he wasn't upset with him. "After all", he said, "You're a businessman just like myself. You have merchandise to sell and its fairly priced." Then he caught the next train.
At a social function a few months later, a neatly dressed salesman stepped up to the businessman and introduced himself: "You probably dont remember me and I dont even know your name, but I will never forget you. You are the man who gave me my self respect back. I was a "beggar" selling pencils until you came along and told me I was a businessman."
The gift of speech is something holy. Words can build people up to their ultimate height, or they can crumble them down to pieces. Words are so easily accessible. We all have them. We all use them. But there's one action that we need to practice in order for our words to be positive and constructive, instead of negative and destructive. Get ready- its not easy. There is a dimension to the human being which exists in each one of us, although rusty in many... and that is the concept of THINKING. A famous man once said that "people will go to any amount of effort to avoid the labor of thinking." If that's so, we wont be doing that much building either. With carefully, thought out words, we can easily encourage and convince people to make the right choices and to feel good about themselves. When we "think out loud" and our brain isn't connected to our mouths, we can be manipulating, hurtful, and bring out the worst in people.
Everyone, male or female, child or adult, teacher or student, principal or janitor, rabbi or businessman, parent or sibling...every single person needs a little boost. Everyone needs to be built up. Sarai was in a position where she needed pleasant words of encouragement and Avram recognized that and supplied her with the fuel she needed to go on. He took her with words - with constructive words of comfort and encouragement, he was able to instill in her the confidence she needed for this tremendous change.