In the first Pasuk of this week’s Parsha, we have an unusual pair of Rashi’s. First, on the words “Lech Licha”, Rashi immediately tells us that this means “for your good and for your benefit”. (Rashi, Lech Licha 12:1) Rashi however is not content to leave his comment on Lech Licha there, instead he goes on and tells us almost exactly what the words are from the next pasuk. “I will make you into a great nation, I will grant you children and your reputation will be known throughout the world.” (Rashi, Lech Licha 12:1) Why did Rashi feel compelled to tell us what are basically the words from the 2nd pasuk at this time?
When we read the 2nd pasuk our question becomes even more perplexing. The pasuk says “I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you and I will make your name great.” (12:2). Since Rashi already told us all this in his comment to the first pasuk, we would think Rashi would have very little to add here. Instead, Rashi comments that “relocating, by its very nature, diminishes these three things – it breaks up families, reduces wealth and lessens ones reputation.” Why does Rashi add this in his comment to this Pasuk but made no mention about it when he first discussed these three brachos in the first pasuk?
As is typical when studying Rashi, the answer to our questions comes from a careful scrutiny of Rashi’s words. In the first pasuk , Rashi is commenting specifically on the words “Lech Licha” Rashi introduces his comment with “L’hanascha V’tovosecha – for your good and for your benefit”. It is Rashi’s desire to specifically explain the word “Licha” in the first Pasuk. It is one thing for Hashem to tell Avraham to “go”, a tziva which he certainly would have followed, but he also told him to go “Licha” for you. It is this extra word that compels Rashi to tell us what was the “good” that Hashem was promising him with the word “Licha”. Indeed, the instruction from Rashi is that by fulfilling Hashem’s command Avraham was assured that these things which are jeopardized by relocation would in fact be turned “Lehanoscha V’tovosecha”.
When Hashem then spells out the brachos that Avraham will receive in the 2nd Pasuk, Rashi points out how these are the precise things that one usually loses when he moves around a lot and is unable to put down roots. It would have been easy for Avraham to perceive Hashem’s tziva and “Licha” as referring only to spiritual good. After all, that was the purpose of his leaving his home. When Hashem told him of these brachos, Rashi rightfully points out that Avraham had every reason to expect to lose these things while following Hashem’s direction. How pleasantly surprised he was to learn that what he would be gaining would include some of these material things as well.
Subtly implied in Rashi’s words are a very deep lesson. “Licha”, for you, is inherently “Lehanascha L’tovosecha”. It is intrinsically linked with Lech, to go. While it’s true that we should do things for spiritual reasons (Lech), one should understand that by doing so, Hashem will not allow us to suffer losses materially either. This entire Perek recites over and over the connection between our Bris with Hashem and his promise to provide an inheritance (Eretz Yisroel), protect us from our enemies, multiply our descendants and even provide sustenance. Obviously, it is our desire to work on improving ourselves spiritually. These Rashi’s make clear though that in so doing we are also earning Hashem’s promise of L’hanoscha L’tovosecha”. Let us all do our part and follow Hashem’s Tzivos. We can certainly be assured that he will keep his promises to us.