לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית אביך אל הארץ אשר אראך
Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, from your father’s house to the land that I will show you”
Chazal tell us (Avos D’ Reb Nasson) that one of Hashem’s ten tests of Avraham was for him to travel from the land of his birthplace to the land that Hashem would show him. The Sam Derech (Reb SImcha Zissel Broide) commented that it seems odd that the Torah would focus so much attention on this test. As Rashi tells us, earlier in Avraham’s life he had defended his faith and had been thrown into a fire by Nimrod. Wouldn’t that seem to be a bigger test than going to the land Hashem shows him? Would it seem that the Torah focused its attention on the wrong test?
Rashi began his commentary on the Torah by asking why the Torah doesn’t start from the first commandment of Rosh Chodesh, rather than going through all of the book of Breishis which does not give us any Mitzvos. The Mefarshim explain that we need the book of Breishis to study our forefathers in order to learn from their examples how to properly conduct ourselves in our life. With this in mind, the Sam Derech explains that the test for Avraham to give up his life when Nimrod wanted to throw him into the fire, while certainly a challenging test, was also clearly a major moment in the life of Avraham. Avraham understood that this was going to make or break his teaching in the world – and that going into this fire would be a major and defining moment. Often, when people have a major test, and they clearly recognize that this will be the defining moment of their lives, they are able to exhibit super human strength to pass this test. For this reason, we find that throughout history even simple people were able to sacrifice their lives for the name of Hashem because they realized this would be a defining moment in their life and therefore found amazing strength. We don’t need to learn from Avraham how to rise to the occasion in this kind of moment because this is our natural instinct.
The test of going to the land that Hashem will show him was a very ordinary test. There was no great moment or great anticipation to see whether or not Avraham would listen to Hashem. Most people didn’t even know that this was a command from Hashem, and, therefore, the test appeared to be a very quiet every day event. Often we don’t have the strength to pass the kind of tests that come up every day, and are part of the daily grind. We don’t have this super human strength because we do not think of it as a major moment in our lives. The Torah wants to emphasize that doing Hashem’s will during the everyday situations is a major accomplishment. Therefore, the Torah focuses on the test of Avraham’s leaving his birthplace to go to the land Hashem will show him.