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Bereshit 12 (verse 2-3) reads: "I will make of thee a great nation, I will bless thee and make thy name great; be thou a blessing. I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse, and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

These words are repeated in other verses as well. Why is it that HaShem (Who first declareren to Avram to leave his country, kindred, father's house, and go to the land which HaShem will show him - to go to) declares to Avraham: 'to become a nation' and 'in thee shall all be blessed'?

Why was it neccessary to become a nation and a blessing? What's the impotance behind it?

  • ...so that we exist? – DonielF Sep 24 '17 at 1:04
  • @DonielF Haha Yes ofcourse, but what was the importance to have it this way, why couldn't Avraham just go out into the world make his descendants spread across the earth in order for HaShem to bestow His blessings? Why did Avraham needed to become a nation? Why did he needed to establish a people in one specific place in order to achieve blessing – Levi Sep 24 '17 at 8:37
  • Related question: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/88537/7303 – Yaacov Deane Feb 4 at 16:57
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In his commentary on Genesis 12:2-3 (and elsewhere, if I'm not mistaken, R' Samson Raphael Hirsch speaks of Avraham's descendants' duty to be a "model nation." Where other nations default to striving to be "blessed" (i.e. preserving national prosperity) the Israelites are required to show what it means to strive to "be a blessing." "To dedicate themselves with all devotion to the Divine purpose of bringing happiness to the world and mankind, thereby as models ..."

R' Hirsch says that this ideal nationhood of "be a blessing" is meant to be attained in the Land of Israel, where the Israelite nation can exist as an independent model. The second verse, "And I will bless those that bless you ...", refers to Israel's existence in exile, dependent on host nations. In this sub-ideal state, the Israelite nation has a different model of influencing the world for the better, through God's like-for-like reaction to those who choose to help the Israelites in their mission ("bless you") and to those who choose the opposite.

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