By Rabbi Yosef Shemtov
In this week’s portion Hashem tells Avraham to leave his homeland. Hashem promises him that his life will be much better. He will have children and will be made into a nation. He will have money, sustenance, and will become famous. Rashi states that usually when someone travels he is not able to have children, he won’t be able to work and make money, and he won’t be known to anyone. This is why Hashem promised Avraham that by leaving his homeland he would be blessed with these three things.
The rabbis count this journey as one of the ten tests Avraham had to pass in order to merit a nation descending from him.The question arises: what kind of test is this if Avraham is promised these rewards? Isn’t a test supposed to be challenging? Imagine G-d telling you that if you go to synagogue tomorrow morning you will get $100,000. Is that a test? Everyone would jump at that opportunity.
Avraham was 75 years old and he had no children. Of course he would be ready to travel anywhere to be able to have kids. The answer could be that Avraham’s test was whether he would follow Hashem’s instructions in order to get rich and have children, or because Hashem told him to.
The next pasuk says Avraham listened to Hashem, just as he was told to.
Many times in life there are alternative motives for doing mitsvot, but we have to have in mind that we are doing it only to do G-d’s will. One should keep in mind that he should do mitzvot only because Hashem wants him to do it, not because he will be rewarded.