Ebionite Davar Torah: Lek-leka
Yahweh said to 'Avram, " Leave your land, your contemporaries* and your father's house for a land which I shall show you; 2 and I shall make you a great nation, I shall bless you and make your name famous; you are to be a blessing! 3 I shall bless those who bless you, and shall curse those who curse you, and all clans on earth will bless themselves by you."
4 So 'Avram went as Yahweh told him, and Lot went with him. 'Avram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
5 'Avram took his woman Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had amassed and the people they had acquired in Haran. They set off for the land of Kena`an, and arrived there. 6 'Avram passed through the country as far as the holy place at Shekem, the Oak of Moreh. The Kena`ani were in the country at the time.7 Yahweh appeared to 'Avram and said, " I shall give this country to your seed." And there, 'Avram built an altar to Yahweh who had appeared to him.
8From there he moved on to the mountainous district east of Bet-'El, where he pitched his tent, with Bet-'El to the west and Ai to the east. There he built an altar to Yahweh and invoked the name of Yahweh. 9 Then'Avram made his way stage by stage to the Negev.
This begins the story of the Chosen People. Or does it?
Why was 'Avram chosen? Was it because of his goodness and his straightness in the presence of YHWH like Noah and Hanok? Was 'Avram the only man worthy of blessing out of the whole earth? Was it 'Avram's faith that established this chosen-ness? This is the beginning of issues that are with us concerning our spiritual and ethnic self-understanding to this day.
I will propose thatYHWH did not choose 'Avram over others. The scripture does not say here that this is the case. All men are blessed by YHWH whether they realize it or not, and the world of 'Avram's time had many peoples of many ways who had become fruitful and very successful in YHWH's creation. We know now that no matter what Ur 'Avram hailed from, the entire fertile crescent was full of large, well populated, distinctively cultured, comfortable, socially and technologically advanced city states. How could anyone doubt that these peoples of 'Avram's day in the fertile crescent of the Near East or, for that matter, of Egypt (Kemet), or of the other ancient cultural hearths of civilization were not blessed?
And this " chosen-ness," of what does it consist? Semi-arid pastureland for sheep and goats and oasis and wadis, rough hills and heights, a narrow river, a lake and a salty dead sea. Does it consist of the hatred and slander showered like rain by those are jealous for this blessing wresting it away, contending for it, pretending to have it by right of force and deceit? And is this chosen-ness so great that men will spill blood to discover and then murder the descendants (and competitors) of 'Avram, or search it out with DNA testing to attach themselves to a blessing to feel loved by God. But whatever they accomplish or find, the conclusion is so obvious---they just do not understand the real heritage that was given to 'Avram. It is just something else to possess to them, perhaps.
This is something they overlook in their inquisitions. The call of 'Avram by YHWH is a call to every man.
How many people of 'Avram's generation (his contemporaries* moledet "those born/ yld with you" , a generation from generations of culture worshipping creation and what they did not understand as gods (who were the images of themselves), how many, were being called by the One to turn and leave an advanced society yet one that embraced idolatry, and what we call paganism? How many are called by YHWH today? Why should it have been any different then?
We have come to understand that even from creation itself that all is of purpose. We choose it or deny it, we participate or not. 'Avram perceived, possibly searched for,and came to understand Purpose and that it was beyond himself and his own desires and devices. YHWH called to him---the purpose of YHWH compelled him.
And so 'Avram and his descendants were blessed forever because he heard the call and thought it was very nice and it made him realize how special he was, and he had faith that it would always be true!! This, this faith, this choosing of 'Avram to hear the call, is the basis of the " Abrahamic Covenant" !!! NO!!!!!!! WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!! This is not the basis of this or any other covenant with YHWH.
A covenant, a brit, is like a tango. Think of a boy and girl. One is 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, doing the tango while the other sits back and tangoes in his mind saying to himself, 'I believe that that could be nothing but the tango, and I can just see myself up there with her dancing the night away!' In such a " dance" someone ends up looking like a fool, because everyone (it would seem) knows it takes two to tango! YHWH asked a man to dance---Get up! Go! and 'Avram did get up and went. If 'Avram had not responded to YHWH's command, His purpose, there would be no covenant. And faith without works would have killed that covenant. And so, you see, 'Avram was not chosen, but instead he chose to obey YHWH.
Obeying YHWH, responding to His Purpose for mankind and all things, in covenant --in partnership-- separates the " Chosen" CHOOSING People from other peoples and even from their contemoraries. 'Avram would inform his children of this, and they, in turn, their own children, dor l'dor---generation to generation. The proof that this was done is that we are reading scripture today.
The proof of this is that the mishpahot --the families/ clans/ peoples-- of the world would bless themselves (nivreku) by trying to latch onto the relationship between 'Avram's descendants making covenant, doing covenant, and YHWH. They bless themselves by giving lip service but refuse to enter into covenant and work their side of the agreements fulfilling the Purpose, denying themselves of true covenant blessings.
Are they damned? YHWH says, 'I will bless those that bless you, but I will curse those who curse you. Blessing " 'Avram" and considering him to be a blessing is not the same as blessing yourself. People curse you because of what you do, which is the main part of who you are. 'Avram was obedient to YHWH. People curse 'Avram and his " descendants" because they are in covenant with YHWH, obeying what He commands as did 'Avram. But from the same mouth comes both blessing and cursing, doesn't it?
How may people today talk of the blessedness of Jews today because of 'Avram ('They're His Chosen People!" they say.), yet curse them because of their obedience to circumcision, commanded by YHWH, for Sabbath observance, commanded by YHWH, the dietary laws, commanded by YHWH, or even something as little as wearing a beard as commanded by YHWH. How many of them bless themselves by the " promise" of 'Avram, base their lawless religion upon his faith" yet declare that all who do not believe that YHWH became a man killed on a cross (and accept church teachings) are damned to eternal fire? How many of these blessers of 'Avram are part of a Christian culture that has outrightly damned his people, tortured and murdered his people and then point to it as an example of the unblessedness of 'Avram's own people? Yet, I am sure that in the nations' own blindness they are yoked to YHWH's purpose also and he preserves them even as they bring curses upon themselves.
The nations rise and fall, societies die and their corpses are salvaged, and even the church of the nations has died to be resurrected, shift-changing into whatever it needs to become as the nations change their whims. But the blessing and covenant between 'Avram, his descendants, and YHWH still stands. Our tents are still pitched at the House of 'Elohim, and we still invoke the Name, Yahweh.