How Many Times Did God Speak to Avraham?

Lech Lecha 5773

Impressions

It’s easy to get the wrong impression.

When we read the Chumash, it seems like every few lines God is speaking to someone.

You may say to yourself, “Well, if God would only speak to me, then life would certainly be easier!”

We tend to lose sight of an important fact: the time gaps between verses.

Let’s take a look at the life of Avraham. How many times and how often did God speak to him?

Ground Rules

I’m only looking at events clearly mentioned in the Chumash.

I’m ignoring any events mentioned in the midrash or Gemara.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not denying the validity or importance of the Oral Torah. It’s just that for the point I want to make, I think the Chumash is all we need.

God Speaks

Here’s the list that I compiled:

God Speaks

Some Observations

1. Avraham lived for 175 years.

2. For the first 75 years of his life, he had no direct communication with God.

3. For the last 38 years of his life, he had no direct communication with God.

4. God spoke to Avraham 9 times during a period of 62 years.

5. Even then, some of God’s appearances to Avraham were very close together. God commanded circumcision, and then He appeared to Avraham just 3 days later.

Similarly, with the Akeidah, the two appearances were merely days apart.

6. As recorded in the Chumash, some of God’s appearances to Avraham were very brief.

Inspiration

This leads me to a question: How did Avraham stay inspired all these years? Why didn’t the gaps, the long years of silence, wear him down?

I have a couple of thoughts about that. I hope to share them with you tomorrow.

If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments.

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