What are the boundaries that Avraham crosses?
- The simplest answer, of course, is that Avraham is a traveller. His initial journey — lech-lecha me-Artzecha — takes him from Ur Kasdim, all over Israel, and then south toward Egypt. He’s always picking up his tent and moving around. Avraham Ha-Ivri: Avraham, the Journey-Man. The physical, geographical adventurer. (Torah is a mirror, so we must hold it up and look at our own reflection. In this way, how are you an ivri?)
- But many scholars point out that his boundary-crossing is also powerfully spiritual. He lives in a totally pagan world, yet he awakens, over time, to a faith in a unique concept of a unique God. The Talmud says it this way: Avraham b’tzad echad, v’kol ha-olam b’tzad ha-Acher -- Avraham was on one side, and the entire rest of the world was on the other side. That’s the line he crosses. These boundaries he (courageously) crosses are theological, philosophical, religious. He crosses these lines — goes against the grain — in order to name, and follow, and support, his beliefs. (Think about yourself. In this way, how are you an ivri?)
- But isn’t true that he also crosses some social/emotional boundaries? He makes some fascinating decisions — with his wife, with his other wife, with his son, with his other son. Avraham Ha-Ivri: the man who will cross all kinds of personal lines, frequently in service of his God and his belief system. (How about in this way. Are you also an Ivri on a personal level?)