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Abraham: Beyond The Stars – Lech Lecha

The Midrash Tanchuma (Chayei Sarah #6) says in reference to the verse: “Though your beginning was insignificant, your end will flourish greatly” (Iyov 8:7) that it alludes to Abraham. God raised him above heaven’s dome, as it is said: “Look- ‘Habeit’ (looking downward from above), and count the stars” (Bereishit 15: 5).

The Holy One, Blessed Is He said to him: “One who is below the mazal (constellations) needs to be concerned by its implications, but you, who are above the mazal, raise your head above it”. Although according to the mazal, it was known that Abraham would not beget children “your beginning was insignificant”, Abraham ended up having many children “your end will flourish greatly”.

God established a system by which everything in the physical world exists and functions through spiritual influences that are transmitted via the stars and planets (see Derech Hashem, II: 7). However, we are blessed with the ability to rise beyond this system, as it says: “There is no mazal for Israel” (Shabbat 156a).

When we try to control all the variables in our life, and make limited choices based on our perception that things are constrained to a narrow structure, we are living under the constellations. When we give up on our dreams, when we feel hopeless facing challenges that appear too big to take on, when we feel that our efforts are futile because we are too insignificant, we are subjugating ourselves to the system of mazal.

But when we take a step, even though the road seems endless, when we undertake a task, even if it appears unfeasible, when we fight for a cause, even when it is just one little voice against the rest of the world, what we are exclaiming is: “I am a child of Abraham!”

As the Midrash says: “you, who are above the mazal, raise your head above it”. You are raising your head above it because you want to interact directly with God. You are raising your head above it with the unwavering belief that if you live an Abraham kind of life, nothing is impossible.

“Though your beginning was insignificant, your end will flourish greatly”, or as we sing in the Hallel: “min hameytsar karati Kah, anani bamerchav Kah”, “from a place of narrowness I called upon God; answer me with expansiveness, God”.
It is a call to be raised beyond the stars.

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