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The Name of the Parsha
The Rebbe Rashab, Rabbi shalom Dov Ber of Lubavitch, once said:
 
“Bereishis is a uoyous Parsha, even thought its end is not too pleasant. Noach is all about the flood, though it has a joyous ending with the birth of Avraham our father. Lech Lecha however is a truly joyous week. Every day of the week we live with Avraham our father, who was the first person to dedicate his life to spreading G-dliness in the world. And Avraham’s trait of self-sacrifice has since been inherited by all Jews.”
 
This begs the question: If Bereishis has ended a few verses earlier, it would have been an entirely joyous sedra, since its “not too pleasant” parts would have been included in the more somber Parshas Noach. Similarly, Parshas Noach could have ended before the birth of Avraham, keeping its content more uniform. Why is the Torah arranged so that the first two parshiyos contain contradictory themes, and only Parshas Lech Lecha is the first “truly joyous week”?
 
Bereishis describes the work of G-d; Noach, the efforts of man; and Lech Lecha, the cooperation of man (Avraham) and G-d.
 
Therefore, Bereishis ends with the birth of Noach, and that “Noach found favor in the eyes of G-d, “since neither of these event required any effort from Noach; they were both the work of G-d.
 
Noach ends with the birth of Avraham and his efforts to come close to G-d. But since G-d had not yet communicated with Avraham, these details were included in Parshas Noach, which speaks of man’s efforts.
 
Only in Parshas Lech Lecha do we begin to read of the convergence between G-d and His creations. For only when G-d spoke to Avraham for the first time, at the beginning of our Parsha, did the era of human-Divine cooperation begin. This communication to Avraham was the precursor of Sinaitic revelation, which would witness the development of this “cooperation” into a coherent system of 613 mitzvos.
 
G-d told Avraham to “Go away (Lech Lecha)” from all his prior value systems – “from your land, your birthplace etc.” This new era of cooperation required a totally fresh approach: the willingness to progress beyond that which man can achieve through his own effort (the theme of Parshas Noach), so that he can become a “partner” with G-d in enacting the Divine plan for creation.
 
 (Based on Likutei Sichos vol. 15, p. 83ff.)
 

 


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