Posted by: mosesfromsinai | October 26, 2009

Lech Lecha – Personal Growth During One’s Life

In the Parsha for this week, Lech Lecha, we read about the name change for the “Father of Monotheism” and Judaism (as well as, yes –  the name change for the “Mother of Monotheism and Judaism).  Truth be told, Abraham and Sarah take over the role of Adam in Eve to a degree.  They become the father and mother of the civilized world.

Abraham’s name change from Avram, “father of Aram – a major city, to Avraham, Av (father) of a multitude (Hamon – in Hebrew) of nations.  Sarah’s name change from Sari,the Hebrew for “my princess” – Avraham’s personal princess, to Sarah, the princess for all civilization.  (Please note that after this name change Sarah undergoes a physical change and will be able to give birth and indeed she will to Yitzchak).

Oh yes, Abraham also had a slight physical change. (Ouch)  Part of the agreement required that Abraham circumcise himself (at 99 years of age – yep, ouch).

Moses (80 years old at the time) who was “upstairs” learning his 40 days and 40 nights was kind of happy that his parents took care of “business”  his father being Amram , a Levi, (the Levites maintained the mitzva – commandment of circumcision in Egypt). Actually Moses was born circumcised and just needed a “slight touch up” at 8 days.

What was the accomplishment by this circumcision for Abraham?  Prior to the circumcision his name was Avram, which is composed of the Hebrew letters, Aleph, Beit, Reish and Mem.  Each Hebrew letter has a numerical value. Aleph, the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet is equal to 1.  Beit, the second letter in the Hebrew alphabet is equal to 2 and Reish equals, 200 and Mem equals 40.  This gives us a combined total of 243.

The Al-mighty added a Hey to Abraham’s (and Sarah’s) name.  The Hey is the fifth letter in the Hebrew alphabet and thus Hey equals 5.  This now gives us a new combined total of 248 in the name of Abraham.  There are a total of 248 limbs in the body (and 248 positive commandments in the Torah).  Abraham’s new name symbolized his mastery over his 248 limbs and his fulfillment of the 248 commandments.  Indeed, we note a difference with Abraham before and after.  When the Al-mighty would communicate with Abraham before circumcision, Abraham felt sort of faint/weak and could not fully function, after the circumcision, whenever the Al-mighty chose to communicate, Abraham had no physical problem.

What does the letter Hey or the 5 additional numbers represent?  There are a couple of interpretations.  The 5 areas that lead a person to sin are the 2 eyes, 2 ears and the “limb below”.  Circumcision represents mastering these 5 areas.  Another interpretation is the 5 senses that a person has, namely, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching.  Circumcision represents mastering these 5 senses.

Abraham and Sarah, the parents of the “New World” were presented with the concept of self control that each individual must learn to master during their personal growth in life.  By their name change, this was a testimony to the fact that Abraham and Sarah had indeed accomplished this and thus they were ready to be the proud parents of Yitzchak, the next father of Judaism through a miracle.

Perhaps, as we journey through life personally growing, we will merit miracles as well


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