TALENT ON LOAN FROM G-D
After Abraham wins the war against the four kings, the king of Sodom tells Abraham that he could keep the spoils of war.
After Abraham wins the war against the four kings, the king of Sodom tells Abraham that he could keep the spoils of war. Abraham responds with the following statement: "I lift up my hand to Hashem, G-d, the Most High, Maker of heaven and earth, if so much as a thread to a shoestrap; or if I shall take from anything of yours! So you shall not say, 'It is I who made Abram rich'." (Genesis 14:22-23). Why does Abraham lift his hand and refer to Hashem in his response? Rashi, the fundamental Torah commentator, explains that Abraham was taking an oath that he would not take any of the booty.
The Meshech Chochmah, a foremost Torah scholar at the turn of the century, offers another interpretation. Abraham replied to the king of Sodom, "I lift my hands to Hashem," as if to say that it was not his own strength or strategy that won this war. Rather, it was Hashem's carrying out His plan through Abraham, hence he had no right to take any of the booty from the king of Sodom.
This same thought, writes the Meshech Chochmah, is expressed in Psalms (37:23), "from Hashem a Man's footsteps are established." We are all merely messengers put here on earth to carry out the will of G-d. All of our attributes are on loan to us from Hashem. Many times there is a misconception that by our own strength and by the might of our hands, we have successfully fought this battle. We should all strive to think like Abraham did, for that is the correct perspective and will ultimately lead us down the path of humility and spiritual success.
Naftali Estreicher, who hails from Atlanta, is studying at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Israel.
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