Surprise!

Oct 7th, 2013 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week
I left our home in Toronto in 1971 for summer camp, and was surprised to be driven at summer’s end to a new home in Baltimore. I didn’t know that we were moving. There seemed to be what Richard Russo, in “The Mysteries of Linwood Hart,” describes as a Ghost Scene, “from which I had been mysteriously and unfairly excluded.” Major decisions had been made without my input; I had not even been informed. Worse was that my sister Naomi knew before I. It was yet another lesson in the unfairness of life.

I had experience with Ghost Scenes. The first time I learned this week’s portion, Lech Lecha, “God said to Abram, ‘Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you’ (Genesis 12:1),” I wanted to know why God spoke to Abram. The teacher spoke of the many Midrashim that describe the young Abram’s clarity and courage, but I saw those as Ghost Scenes as well; if true, why are the stories not in the Torah? How can the Torah, which is God’s way of speaking to us, leave out such important information?

Incredibly frustrated by the teacher’s answers and the unfairness of being taught by someone who couldn’t answer my questions, I had to turn to The Source of All Knowledge, my father zt”l.

We began by reading the opening verse, “God said to Abram, ‘Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you’.” My father asked me if I saw another Ghost Scene in the verse, something other than, “why did God speak to Abram?” It wasn’t difficult to find, “To the land that I will show you.” God was telling Abram to leave without informing him where was going.

“Ghost Scenes are not only in the past as in God’s reason for speaking to Abram, they are also in the future as in knowing God wants him to go someplace Abram doesn’t yet know.”

I wanted to know if it was to be a surprise for Abram such as when my father would take me out without telling me where. “Surprises are only for people who don’t have the patience to wait for something special.”

I wasn’t convinced, “Don’t you shout ‘Surprise!’ when you find a new idea while learning? You like surprises!”

“I find surprises in everything I do every day, and I don’t need special surprises, and I think that Abraham was much better than I at finding new things.”

Then it clicked, “That’s why God spoke to Abraham, because he knew how to find surprises in everything!”

My father then challenged me to find all of Abraham’s surprises in the portion, and I now share that challenge with you!

I left our home in Toronto in 1971 for summer camp, and was surprised to be driven at summer’s end to a new home in Baltimore. I didn’t know that we were moving. There seemed to be what Richard Russo, in “The Mysteries of Linwood Hart,” describes as a Ghost Scene, “from which I had been mysteriously and unfairly excluded.” Major decisions had been made without my input; I had not even been informed. Worse was that my sister Naomi knew before I. It was yet another lesson in the unfairness of life.

I had experience with Ghost Scenes. The first time I learned this week’s portion, Lech Lecha, “God said to Abram, ‘Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you’ (Genesis 12:1),” I wanted to know why God spoke to Abram. The teacher spoke of the many Midrashim that describe the young Abram’s clarity and courage, but I saw those as Ghost Scenes as well; if true, why are the stories not in the Torah? How can the Torah, which is God’s way of speaking to us, leave out such important information?

Incredibly frustrated by the teacher’s answers and the unfairness of being taught by someone who couldn’t answer my questions, I had to turn to The Source of All Knowledge, my father zt”l.

We began by reading the opening verse, “God said to Abram, ‘Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you’.” My father asked me if I saw another Ghost Scene in the verse, something other than, “why did God speak to Abram?” It wasn’t difficult to find, “To the land that I will show you.” God was telling Abram to leave without informing him where was going.

“Ghost Scenes are not only in the past as in God’s reason for speaking to Abram, they are also in the future as in knowing God wants him to go someplace Abram doesn’t yet know.”

I wanted to know if it was to be a surprise for Abram such as when my father would take me out without telling me where. “Surprises are only for people who don’t have the patience to wait for something special.”

I wasn’t convinced, “Don’t you shout ‘Surprise!’ when you find a new idea while learning? You like surprises!”

“I find surprises in everything I do every day, and I don’t need special surprises, and I think that Abraham was much better than I at finding new things.”

Then it clicked, “That’s why God spoke to Abraham, because he knew how to find surprises in everything!”

My father then challenged me to find all of Abraham’s surprises in the portion, and I now share that challenge with you!

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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