Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Why exactly was Avraham Avinu chosen to be the first Jew? Why did everything start from him? There is one verse that explains his uniqueness: "For I have known him because he instructs his children and his household after him, that they should keep the way of the Lord to perform righteousness and justice."(Genesis 18:19) The Torah does not single out Avraham Avinu as an outstanding government leader, military man, or wealthy individual, but rather as an educator. We do not have any stirring speeches from him that we learn by heart, but the Torah emphasizes that he was a good father and a devoted teacher. Avraham educated his family and the people around him, and has continued to educate us until today.
This is an important reminder for these challenging days. We are so exhausted (justifiably) that we may have forgotten what happens at school is secondary to what happens at home, the place where we truly educate our children and learn something ourselves. Thanks to the corona, all of us have been in an extended educational workshop that has already gone on for eight months, but perhaps now we will manage to draw strength from the story of Avraham Avinu that begins with this week's Torah portion. In his humble tent that was not an official school he passed down to us the basic Jewish perspective: we are a nation that studies and educates and improves itself perpetually. The nation of Israel was the people of the book, the people of education, long before there was a corona cabinet and a protocol for returning to school. For thousands of years, we knew how to simply open a book and study. We also knew how to simply give charity and do justice - not because we learned about these things in a homework assignment, but because they were expressions of our innate character that made us who we were and who we strive to be today.
May we all find success in perpetuating the legacy of Avraham Avinu.