We learned in parshas Noach a few weeks ago that one of the condemnations of Noach comes about because he doesn’t leave the Teiva after the flood. He sits there, plays around with sending birds, it’s a very nice story but eventually Hashem has to intervene and tell him, “LEAVE ALREADY.”
(I’m paraphrasing. And speaking of paraphrasing, most of this dvar Torah was heavily inspired by three divrei Torah of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. You can find links to them at the end.)
Noach didn’t want to leave the teiva. He had seen the world destroyed. He didn’t know how he could go on. And, looking backwards perhaps, he drowned his troubles rather than looking forward.
We have all met people who have been through something like that, I think. People who lived through the Shoah, who saw their world destroyed. And yet – most picked themselves up and went on with their lives.
Rabbi Sacks calls these people his “mentors in courage.” He spent time asking what allowed them to move on. Unlike Noach, to leap out of the boat and rebuild the world. To not descend into the depths.
My mother grew up in the generation when people didn’t talk about the Shoah. For better or worse, nobody could talk about it. It was told in whispers – and in silences. Eventually, they began to speak, but only when they realized that it was long past, and that the future was assured.
This is what Avraham does in this week’s parsha.