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Dvar for Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

When the southern region of Canaan becomes embroiled in a battle involving nine kings, Avram’s nephew Lot is among the captives. When Avram is informed of this, the pasuk refers to him as “Avram the Ivri” (14:13), a label not used to describe Avram anywhere else. Rashi explains that Ivri connotes “from the other side of the [Euphrates] river” and is, in fact, an accurate designation, yet it is still unclear why this is the one and only time this term is used to describe Avram.

Rav Moshe Neriyah posits that the Torah defines Avram as morally and spiritually on “one side of the river” while the rest of the world is on the other. While Sodom and Nimrod subjected innocent people to brutal punishment, Avram stood for kindness. Avram did not require acceptance from anyone or try to assimilate but stood alone in defense of the innocent. Perhaps it’s this steadfastness, along with G-d’s help, that empowered Avram to triumph over the evils that surrounded him.

Doing the right thing and standing for what’s moral and just can be a lonely endeavor (as we are seeing today), but Avram’s actions and G-d’s support show us that it’s a fight worth fighting and a victory worth pursuing.