4Ich werde zum Norden sagen: Gib heraus Ich werde zum Norden sagen: Gib heraus! und zum Süden: Halte nicht zurück, bringe meine Söhne von fernher und meine Töchter vom Ende der Erde (Jesaja 43:6).
5Die Wüste und das dürre Land werden sich freuen, und die Steppe wird frohlocken und aufblühen wie eine Narzisse (Jesaja 35)
6Es ist zu gering, daß du mein Knecht seiest, um die Stämme Jakobs aufzurichten und die Bewahrten von Israel zurückzubringen; ich habe dich auch zum Licht der Nationen gesetzt, um mein Heil zu sein bis an das Ende der Erde(Jesaja 49:6)
7Lech Lecha (לֶךְ לְךָ) – “Geh zu Dir/für Dich” Und Gott sprach zu Abram: Gehe ( לֶךְ לְךָ) aus deinem Lande und aus deiner Verwandtschaft und aus deines Vaters Hause, in das Land, das ich dir zeigen werde. 2 Und ich will dich zu einer großen Nation machen und dich segnen, und ich will deinen Namen groß machen; und du sollst ein Segen sein! 3 Und ich will segnen, die dich segnen, und wer dir flucht, den werde ich verfluchen; und in dir sollen gesegnet werden alle Geschlechter der Erde!1 Mose 12:1-3As I made Aliyah 12 years ago, Abraham made Aliyah some thousands of years ago. God called on Abraham to leave his house, his family and his birthplace. In Genesis 11 we hear that Abraham is born: “After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran”. Further chapter 11 tells that Abram gets married to Sarai and that they live in Ur. When God calls on Abram in the next chapter, Abram is already 75 years. What happened in between?An old Jewish parable tells about Abram’s youth and how Abram became the first monotheist. Abram’s father Terah had a business in selling idols. He was very successful and hoped to pass the corporation over to his son one day. To teach him the business, Terah allowed Abram to run the store all by himself one day. When Terah returned one day later, he was shocked. He found all the idols in the shop smashed to pieces, except one big idol. Terah asked Abram how that could happen. Abram told his father, “a terrible thing has happened. The largest idol got angry at all the others and destroyed them.’ Terah was furious and rejected the explanation. “How can you say something so stupid? It is just an idol. He cannot possibly do anything!” Abram looked at his father and said: “If idols cannot do anything, than why should we worship them?The parables wants to say that young Abram was already a monotheist in his youth, but the Bible does not tell us anything special about Abram’s youth. It does not tell us why God choose specifically Abram. He ruled no empire, did not have an army, was not a hero, was not a great prophet and did not have disciples.But on one day, God tells Abram: "Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.“The Hebrew language is a language with an incredible depth. Today I want to share with you one example. In this text, the English bible says “Go forth”, the Hebrew says “LechLecha” which is literally to be translated as “Go to you”, “Go unto you” or “Go to yourself”. This translation offers an insight into this passage by suggesting that Abram’s journey is not simply to leave his father’s land and travels physically to the promised land, but rather that his journey is deeper. It will also be a journey of self discovery, self-direction, and personal choosingHowever, this translation still raises a lot of questions. “Go to yourself from your land to the land that I will show you”; does that make sense?In Hebraic tradition, one needs to look if a language construction appears somewhere else, to see if that clarifies its meaning. The LechLecha appears another time.Lech Lecha (לֶךְ לְךָ) – “Geh zu Dir/für Dich”
8Und er sprach: Nimm deinen Sohn, deinen einzigen, den du lieb hast, den Isaak, und ziehe hin ( ולֶךְ לְךָ) in das Land Morija, und opfere ihn daselbst als Brandopfer auf einem der Berge, den ich dir sagen werde.1 mose 22:2In Genesis 22, after many chapters and many years, finally God fulfills his promise to Abraham. He and Sara receive their long expected son Isaac. The Lord commands Abraham to bring an offering to God on Mount Moriah and says “go away to the land of Moriah”. But again, the Hebrew says “Lech Lecha”, Go to you, Go unto you, Go unto yourself.From comparing the texts, we can conclude that this “LechLecha” is not just a call to go somewhere, in both instances it has to do with a covenant between God and man. Once it is about the establishment of a covenant between Abraham and God, and now it is about fact the God keeps his promise in his covenant with Abraham.Lech Lecha (לֶךְ לְךָ) – “Geh zu Dir/für Dich”
9Mein Geliebter hob an und sprach zu mir: Mache dich auf, meine Freundin, meine Schöne, und komm!(וּלְכִי לָךְ)Hohelied 2:10One more time we find a passage with the same language construction, this time in the feminine form. The text is in the Song of Songs. In this passage, the Bridegroom calls on his Bride: Arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away! The literal translation would be, “Arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come to yourself”. To come to a wedding is apparently to come to yourself.The other two texts had both to do with a covenant between God and man. This time the text is handling as well about a covenant, a marriage. From comparing the texts, we can conclude that God’s call on Abram – Lech lecha - is like a call for a wedding. A covenant between two lovers, unconditionally. God marries Abraham.Lechi Lach (וּלְכִי לָךְ) – “Geh zu Dir/für Dich weibliche form”
10Gottes Bund mit Abraham Lech Lecha Gottes Bund mit uns allenMa’aseh Avot Siman Lebanim &RömerbriefGod calls Abraham to come to himself, to enter into a covenant with God, to get married with God and with the land that God includes in the marriage. The covenant is everlasting and the marriage in unconditional. The covenant even continues over the generations after Abraham, until this very day. God promises to keep the covenant continuing over Isaacs descendants, the Jewish people of today. There is until today an unbreakable triangle between God, the Jewish people and the land of Israel. For thousands of years, one side of the triangle had been broken: the land of Israel. Due to the work of Ebenezer, the triangle is slowly improved and perfected. People like me return to the land. The unity of God, the Jewish people and the land is reestablished.However, that is not the end of the story. In Judaism there is the principle of “maase avot, siman lebanim”. What happened to our Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, happens to us. What our patriarchs and matriarchs did, we do. What challenged them, challenges us. God made a covenant with Abraham some thousands of years ago, but he makes a covenant with each of us as well. Individually. In every country.The apostle Paul confirms that all of us are part of God’s covenant as well. In Romans 11, he states that Bible true Christians are like branches of an olive tree, that are grafted in the ancient olive tree of the people of Israel.God has a covenant with all of us. Abraham’s task in his marriage with God is to inherit the land of Canaan. Our Godly task can be totally different.
11Abraham der erste Oleh Abrahams 7 Aliyot When God made the covenant with Abraham, he called unto him to make Aliyah. The word Aliyah means “ascent”, “to go up” – both geographically and spiritually. Abraham needed to go geographically up to the land of Canaan, to inherit it as a land for his descendants. The funny thing is that God keeps speaking about descendants, but Abraham and Sarah do not have children and they are already old. Abrahams makes Aliyah, he leaves his land, but God needs to work out 6 extra Aliyot in Abrahams life – both spiritually and geographically - until Isaac is born and Abraham cannot doubt anymore that God is God.7 is the number of fullness. 7 Aliyot. 7 interventions of God to fulfill his plan with Abraham. God does not let his promises go, even though we mind think that things are not working out. Lets check Abraham’s seven Aliyot and what is has to tell us.
12Und Abram ging hin, wie der Herr zu ihm geredet hatte, (…) Und Jehova erschien dem Abram und sprach: Deinem Samen will ich dieses Land geben. Und er baute daselbst der Herr, der ihm erschienen war, einen Altar.1 mose 12: 4, 7The first storyAbrahams first Aliyah we have encountered already. God commanded Abram to leave his father's house and homeland, and travel to the land that He will show him. Abram’s first Aliyah. As reward for doing so, God promised to make Abram the patriarch of a great nation. Abram obeyed, taking along his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. Once Abram arrived in Canaan, God informed him that He will eventually give that land to his descendents.1. Aliya
13 Und Abram zog herauf aus Ägypten, er und sein Weib und alles, was er hatte(…) 3 Und er ging auf seinen Zügen vom Süden bis Bethel, bis zu dem Orte, wo im Anfang sein Zelt gewesen war, zwischen Bethel und Ai, 4 zu der Stätte des Altars, den er zuvor daselbst gemacht hatte. Und Abram rief daselbst den Namen des Herrn an1 mose 13: 1-4The second storyAbram traverses the length of the land until a famine forces him to travel to Egypt. Fearing that the Egyptians would kill him in order to take Sarai, Abram asked her to allege that he was her brother. And indeed because of her beauty, Sarai was taken captive and brought to Pharaoh. When Sarai entered Pharaoh’s palace, God struck the members of Pharaoh's palace with a plague, causing Pharaoh to hastily release Sarai. Pharaoh loaded Abram and Sarai with gifts and riches, and had them escorted out of his land. Abram returned triumphantly to Canaan.Genesis 13 describes that Abram returns a second time to the land of Canaan, his second aliyah.Abraham thought it would be better for him and his family to live in Egypt, he forced his wife to lie and brought himself in quiet some problems. God however intervened and initiated a second Aliyah.It can be that God gives us a specific task in life. Full of energy we start to work on it, but when things start to be tough, we leave it and go another way. Abraham’s second Aliyah, shows that God is faithfull and will move us back to His plan with a strong hand.2. Aliya
14Ist nicht das ganze Land vor dir. Trenne dich doch von mir Ist nicht das ganze Land vor dir? Trenne dich doch von mir! Willst du zur Linken, so will ich mich zur Rechten wenden, und willst du zur Rechten, so will ich mich zur Linken wenden. 10 Und Lot hob seine Augen auf und sah die ganze Ebene des Jordan, daß sie ganz bewässert war gleich dem Garten Jehovas, wie das Land Ägypten, bis nach Zoar hin. 11 Und Lot erwählte sich die ganze Ebene des Jordan, und Lot zog ostwärts; und sie trennten sich voneinander1 mose 13:14The third storyLot, who had accompanied Abram and Sarai, was very wealthy. When Lot's shepherds quarreled with Abram's shepherds, the two decided to part ways. Abram gives the choice to Lot: “you choose where you go, I will go to the other side, it does not matter where.” Lot chooses to settle in the province of Sodom, renowned for its evil inhabitants. Sodom however was by that time much more beautiful than the heartland of Canaan. Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra, the plains of the Jordan were green and full of water. Lot chooses beauty. Abraham stays in the hills of Canaan. He would have been willing to sacrifice Canaan for Sodom. After Lot departed, God needs to restore Abrahams spirit. Abraham belongs to Canaan, Canaan belongs to Abraham. God initiates a third Aliyah, this time a spiritual one. God repeats His promise to bequeath the land to Abrams descendants, and promises once againto make his descendants numerous as the soil of the earth.It can be that God gives us a specific task in life, but another way seems much more attractive for us. Lot choose the beautiful sight, the easy watery plains. But Sodom and Gomorra where destroyed, they were evil. Lot’s wife died in this occurrence. Abraham’s third Aliyah shows that God knows what he is doing and what he wants from us, even it seems the harder and less attractive way.3. Aliya
15Und er brachte alle Habe zurück; und auch Lot, seinen Bruder, und dessen Habe brachte er zurück, und auch die Weiber und das Volk.1 Mose 14:16The fourth storyIn the southern region of Canaan there was a major war going on, involving many kings. When the dust settled, the victorious kings took captive all the inhabitants of the Sodom region -- Lot included. When Abram was informed of Lot's issue he rushed to the rescue along with a handful of men, he defeated them, released all the captives and returned all the spoils and finally returns home.Abraham leaves to help someone out, but returns back to his home afterwards. A fourth Aliyah, this time geographically. It can be that God gives us a smaller task to fulfill, within the framework of a bigger task. Abraham put himself in danger to do good, God rewarded him. Abraham’s fourth Aliyah shows that God gives us bigger and smaller tasks, sometimes he wants us to take risks, but when we do good, he rewards us.4. Aliya
16Und er führte ihn hinaus und sprach: Blicke doch gen Himmel und zähle die Sterne, wenn du sie zählen kannst! Und er sprach zu ihm: Also wird dein Same sein! Und er glaubte Jehova; und er rechnete es ihm zur Gerechtigkeit.1. Mose 15:5Fifth story:Abram refuses to take any presents from the evil king of Sodom. God reassures Abram that he would be greatly rewarded for his righteousness. Abram however is not so happy, "What is the point of all the reward and wealth," Abram cries, "if I have no children to inherit it?!" Abram’s spirit is broken. Many years have passed and he still does not have son. Does God at all keep his promises?God lifts up Abram’s spirit, a fifth Aliyah. He assures Abram in Genesis 15 that he will indeed have a child, and promises again that Abram's descendents will be as numerous as the stars of the heaven. Abram’s broken spirit is restored, he believes.We learn from Abraham’s fifth Aliyah, that God keeps faithful to His promises, even it takes time and even if it might seem that He forgets about it.5. Aliya
17Ich, siehe, mein Bund ist mit dir, und du wirst zum Vater einer Menge Nationen werden (…) Und ich werde dich sehr, sehr fruchtbar machen, und ich werde dich zu Nationen machen, und Könige sollen aus dir hervorkommen(…) Und ich werde meinen Bund errichten zwischen mir und dir und deinem Samen nach dir, nach ihren Geschlechtern, zu einem ewigen Bunde, um dir zum Gott zu sein und deinem Samen nach dir. 8 Und ich werde dir und deinem Samen nach dir das Land deiner Fremdlingschaft geben, das ganze Land Kanaan, zum ewigen Besitztum, und ich werde ihr Gott sein.1. Mose 17:4-8Sixth storyAbram and Sarai still do not have children. Abram requests a sign from God that his descendents would indeed inherit the land of Canaan. He thinks that God is not keeping his promise. God responds in the famous "Covenant Between the Parts." Abram and God pass between some halved animals, and God tells Abram that his descendants would be exiled. At the conclusion of this period, Abram's descendents would leave with great wealth, God would punish the nations which enslaved them, and Abram's children would inherit the lands of Canaan.Following this pact, Sarai suggests that Abram would get a child with her Egyptian maid, Hagar. Hagar conceived and began to mistreat her mistress Sarai, who forced Hagar to flee. Hagar encountered an angel who encouraged her to return to Sarai, promising her that the child she will bear will become a great nation. She obeyed, and gave birth to Ishmael.Sarai and Abram are fet up, the fulfillment of God’s promise simply takes to long. They take the action in their own hands and organize a son for Abram. However, God is not happy, he reassures again that Abram and Sarai will get a child together and to this child the promise of the covenant belong. He restores their spirits, their belief in the covenant, their sixth aliyah.When we feel and know that God has a special mission for us, but no doors open, it might be very tempting to find an alternative ways to work it out. Abram’s sixth Aliyah shows that God fulfills his plan in his way, even though we mess it up and want to replace Him.6. Aliya
18Und ich werde sie (Sara) segnen, und auch von ihr gebe ich dir einen Sohn; und ich werde sie segnen, und sie wird zu Nationen werden; Könige von Völkern sollen aus ihr kommen.1 Mose 17:16The seventh and last storyIn chapter 17, God seals his covenant with Abraham and his descendants and gives it a sign. The sign of the covenant is the circumcision of all males when they are eight days old. At the age of 99, Abraham circumcised himself, his son Ishmael, and all the members of his household. Abram become Abraham. Sarai's name is changed to Sarah. God promises a delighted Abraham that he will definitely get another son, this time from Sarah.God takes it to the next level, he makes Abraham ascent another stair step, another Aliyah. The covenant gets a seal, a visible sign. This seventh Aliyah of Abraham shows us that God the faithfull one, not only keeps his promises, but helps to set us apart from the rest. And not only that, when we need it, He gives us visible signs that he is still acting.7. Aliya
firstname.lastname@example.org, www.keshetjourneys.co.il Toda raba!I, on behalf of Israel, the Jewish nations, want to thank Ebenezer for lifting up so many. You at Ebenezer effectuate Aliyah not just in a geographical way, but also in a spiritual way. You as Ebenezer help to perfect the marriage between God, the Jewish people and the Land.With this lecture, I wanted to show how God is not just having a covenant with the Jewish people, but that He has one with all of us. Our God does not just make plans for us, he initiates a fullness of spiritual Aliyot to keep us close to him and his plan.In that God, we are connected.Thank you!