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Think Different, Like Abraham

10/14/2021 07:46:07 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

Abraham woke up on the right side of the bed and began believing in one God. Everyone else on the planet was still waking up on the idolatrous side of the bed. Abraham was the first – and for a time only – monotheist on the planet.

Torah does not explore how radical Abraham was. To stand here while the rest of the world stands there is difficult, a constant struggle. But Abraham was adamant; he believed in his cause; he publicly “proclaimed the name of the Lord” (Gensis 12:8); he was radically different.

From 1997 to 2002 Apple produced its “Think Different” ad campaign. Billboards and posters featured photographic portraits of the brilliant and the bold who thought, acted, and lived differently: Jim Henson, Martin Luther King, Maria Callas, Albert Einstein, Martha Graham and  others.

Very few of us are radically different, and yet every one of us has the capacity to think independently. Too often we do not. We are often too anxious or passive to buck a trend. We find security in “groupthink.” Perhaps we are trying to fit in.

But we are Jews, the spiritual seed of Abraham (who deserved his own billboard in the “Think Different” campaign). We are the nation that dwells apart (Numbers 23:9) and we prize our capacity to think independently. So, as we launch into Genesis’s matriarchal and patriarchal narratives, let us commit ourselves to be like them. Let us use our God-given intellects to form our own opinions and to make our own decisions.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Jeffrey Weill

Tue, April 23 2024 15 Nisan 5784