Community Torah Corner, November 4, 2022

Rabbi Eliot Malomet
Highland Park Conservative Temple - Congregation Anshe Emeth
Highland Park, NJ 
Parashat Lech Lecha 

And you shall be a blessing
. (Gen. 12:2)
What does this mean?
We typically understand a blessing to be a miniature prayer.
A blessing is what we say to offer thanks to God. A blessing is what we say to our children on Friday nights. We offer blessings to others when we want to honor them. So, is God saying to Abraham, You shall be a prayer?
Why not?
If a person can be a rock or an island (Simon and Garfunkel), a walrus (the Beatles), or stardust (Joni Mitchell) then why can't a person metaphorically be a prayer? Imagine then, that when God says to Abraham, You shall be a blessing, God is telling Abraham to see himself as a walking prayer! What does that mean?
Metaphorically speaking, if you are a prayer it means that you should live your life in such a way so that you will bring goodness, gratitude, joy, kindness, hope and peace, to everyone around you.
You shall be a blessing is a "mission statement" for Abraham and his descendants. Just as Abraham was supposed to be a blessing, we are supposed to be a blessing. Just as Abraham was supposed to be a walking prayer, we are supposed to be walking prayers. Our job is to bring godliness to the world. And how do we do that? By living with kindness and gratitude, by advancing human civilization, by creating communities focused on moral excellence through the study of Torah. When we do that, we become blessings. And when we become blessings, we impart blessings to others, and it goes on and on, until all the families of the earth will be blessed.
Shabbat Shalom!