Who was Abraham?
In the last two parshas (Lech-lecha and Vayera), we learned a lot about Abraham our forefather, and if I could sum up who he was in one sentence it would be this:
Abraham was a kind Hebrew who believed YAHUAH and walked in righteousness and right-ruling.
Within that sentence, we see five important characteristics of Abraham, five traits that would be instilled in the set-apart nation.
Abraham was known for his kindness. He sought out ways to help people. When the three messengers arrived, Abraham rushed to welcome them, feed them, and offer them a place of rest. He fought to rescue Lot from the four kings holding him captive, he prayed for the lives of the righteous in Sedom, and continually shared the knowledge of YAH, the belief in One Elohim, with others. Abraham searched for any way to improve the lives of others, both spiritually and physically.
In Ber/Gen. 14:13, Abraham is called HaIvri, the Hebrew. Ivri means "the one from the other side." Taken literally, Abraham was from the other side of the Euphrates River. In another sense, he stood on "the other side" spiritually (and morally) from the rest of the world.
In a pagan world, Abraham worshiped YAHUAH, the One and only Elohim. He was different. He stood out, and he wasn't afraid of it. He boldly stood on the other side of the world and sought to bring others over to his side.
Abraham believed YAHUAH. Notice I left out the word "in." Of course, he believed in YAHUAH (i.e. he believed that YAH existed), but more praiseworthy than that, he believed YAHUAH. Whatever YAH said, he believed.
He believed YAH would take him to a good land. He believed YAH would give him a son. He believed YAH would make him a great nation - despite being asked to offer up his son. Because Abraham believed, YAHUAH counted it as righteousness and fulfilled all His promises.
Righteousness & Right-Ruling
Abraham commanded his children and his household to do righteousness and right-ruling (Ber. 18:19). Righteousness means obeying the Torah, being found guiltless and innocent in the eyes of YAHUAH. Abraham obeyed YAH and was, therefore, righteous. He lived in righteousness obeying the word of YAH, and he taught his children and household to do the same.
Right-ruling means to judge rightly, to be fair in judgement - rewarding the right and punishing the wrong. Abraham didn't protest the destruction of Sedom, for he knew they were wicked. He protested the destruction of the righteous along with the wrong. He knew the righteous should be saved from destruction so he prayed for their salvation.
Father of a Nation
YAH chose Abraham to be the father of His chosen nation because of these very traits. He wanted his special nation to have these same characteristics. If we are Yisrael, descendants of Abraham (physically or spiritually), then we too must have these same traits. We have to take after our forefather.
We have to be kind, seeking out ones to help and being sincerely concerned about their well-being. Kindness is wanting others to live and to live in peace, safety, and security. Kindness doesn't wait for someone to ask. Kindness sees and anticipates a need and then fills it. What we want for ourselves, we will do for others.
We have to stand out, on the opposite side of the world - spiritually, morally, and ethically. We can't be afraid to be different and to stand out. We have to boldly stand up for YAH in a world that doesn't serve or recognize Him.
We have to believe YAH. Not just believe "in" Him - but believe Him. Every word He says is true, and we must believe Him. We have to live like we believe Him. Our actions and decisions should be based on the fact that we believe that He will do what He says.
We have to walk in righteousness and right-ruling. We have to learn Torah and strive to obey more and more in order to be found righteous. We have to teach our children to obey Torah and command our households according to His word.
We have to judge fairly and not with partiality. We should do good to those who are good, and we must stand up against evil and judge the wrong - even in our own household with our loved ones.
Who was Abraham?
Abraham was a kind Hebrew who believed YAH and walked in righteousness and right-ruling.
The question we ask now is: Who am I?
As the nation of Abraham, his description should fit us:
(your name) is a kind Hebrew who believes YAHUAH and walks in righteousness and right-ruling.
Does this fit you?