Sign In Forgot Password

Parshas Lech Lecha - The Time Change           9 Cheshvan 5780

11/07/19 13:59:45


Two weeks each year people are a little off their game. One week a person does not have enough time and the next week there’s a little bit too much time. This past Sunday most American changed their clocks to standard time, “gaining “an hour to the week. Personally, I try to be as systematic as possible, changing the clocks all at the same time, albeit for those who know me, different clocks are set at different times, some five minutes fast, some fifteen minutes fast, while others are set to show the actual, real time. Old-fashioned clocks and watches need to be changed manually, but our satellite-recognizing timekeepers automatically adjust to the time change. However, there are a few clocks in the “no time” zone that can, may, or are supposed to change by a receiving signal which does not always work. To add to this confusion, there was a question many in our state of California addressed: “Aren’t we now one of the states that voted not to change but rather to remain on Standard Time? If so, what happened?”


California voters approved Proposition 7 to end Daylight Saving Time on November 6, 2018. So…why did we still change our clocks this past weekend? It's a fairly straight- forward answer with a not-so-simple solution. The California Legislature needs to get a bill passed, and then Congress needs to approve it. So, what's next? The bill is currently pending a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Congress has until December 2020 to act on these bills.

Not all states observe Daylight Saving Time, and by law, they are not required to do so.. Arizona and Hawaii don't currently observe DST, and Indiana only started observing it in 2006. According to a recent Associated Press poll, most people across the country want to stop the twice-a-year ritual of clock changes. There are dozens of other polls with mixed results whether to switch or remain and to remain on which one.

This past week someone manually turned the atomic clock in Shul back one hour. Looking up at the time only a few minutes later, the numbers had reverted back to the old time. People in the room were quite puzzled as to why it didn’t remain with the new time, especially when it should pick up an atomic signal to correct itself! At that point someone made a comment that maybe it’s time to change the clock. Someone else responded that we tried to change the clock, but it does not want to change! Obviously, the correct wording should be ‘adjust the time’ or just go buy a new clock. Nevertheless, the idea of ‘change’ the clock, meaning adjusting the time or replacing the apparatus, is something we all face as we transition through different stages of life. This is most apparent in people who “change” their names to change their destiny.

In this week’s Parshas Lech Lecha the Torah in Bereishis 17:5 states: "ולא יקרא עוד את שמך אברם, והיה שמך אברהם כי אב המון גוים נתתיך" “ - “No longer shall you be called Abram. Your name shall be Abraham, for I have set you up as the father of a horde of nations”. Then, in 17:15, it states: "ויאמר אלוקים אל אברהם, שרי אשתך לא תקרא את שמה שרי, כי שרה שמה"- - - “God said to Abraham, Sarai your wife, do not call her by the name Sarai, for Sarah is her name”. Immediately after the change Hashem says to both Abraham and Sarah, “I will bless you and increase you”. The Gemara Brachos 16b explains: that only the three are called the Avos (the fathers) and only the four are called the Imahos (the mothers). Who are the three? We know now they are Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov, but why not start with someone else, like Terach, Avraham’s father? The Torah describes Abram as old, being ninety-nine years old after Yishmael turns thirteen, which now brings the birth of Yitzchok closer. Even if we didn’t want to have Terach as one of the ‘fathers’, he IS the biological father of Abram and we can’t change that link. In fact, going up the ladder tracing the generations from Terach to Noach and further back to Adam, each and everyone one is referred to as the Avos. In the words of Chaza”l, is it possible to take a sharp knife and sever the generation between Abram and Terach so that the chain of three starts with Abram, continuing to Yitzchok and Yaakov? Apparently, when Hashem decided to plant the vineyard of Israel, He did it in a way that was intended to break the link from Terach to his son Abram, starting with Abram as the first and continuing to make the three with his son Yitzchok and his son Yaakov, thereby creating the Avos of three as we know it to be. But how?

When birth occurs naturally, the father is known to the child as his father, and the father of the father is known as the grandfather. In the chain of family tree, the child is the trunk at the bottom, the body is the father, and the branches of the tree are formed by the grandfather and further back through the previous generations. But there was one man who was older and, with his wife, no longer had the ability to have children in the ‘natural’ way. Hashem intervened and miraculously reverted both the man and his wife, Abram and Sarai, to their youth, enabling them to bear children. Since the chain of natural birth stopped with Abram, he was no longer directly connected to his father Terach, because if Abram was unable to have a natural child then the connection to the grandfather and previous ancestors no longer existed. Therefore, Hashem waited until Abram and Sarai were older, well past child-bearing age, and performed a Neis/miracle. Hashem caused them, in a sense to be reborn. A new beginning was created with Abram and Sarai and their Koach, their strength to have the ‘natural’ child would continue to Yitzchok and then to Yaakov, establishing the three Avos.

To demonstrate this nais/miracle to the new potential parents, Hashem changed their old physical bodies to new, younger ones. When a new child is born, the baby is given a name; to begin their new life, Hashem changed the names of both Abram and Sarai to Avraham and Sarah - new identities completely disconnected from Terach and Haran, the fathers of Abram and Sarai. Avraham and Sarah experienced a change in body and soul; their physical qualities changed from old back to young, and spiritually through the slight change of their names by the mere addition of a letter. . In addition, they needed brand new biological clocks that gave them the opportunity to have children specifically in the miraculous form to establish the chain and link of the Avos beginning with Avraham and not from Terach, his father.

All of us need to constantly review and evaluate who we are and where we are going as we progress through our lives. Sometimes we need to adjust and ‘change’ who we are in a slight manner - a little more or a little less - regarding how we go about our lives. That is the slight hour change, keeping the general time and connecting it to who we are as people. On the other hand, (no pun intended) sometimes we need to ‘change the clock’, experiencing a complete, new, thorough overhaul, putting completely new systems into place. Hopefully by recognizing time and place of where we and our families are, we can ‘change’ the clock and be right on time every time!

Sun, May 24 2020 1 Sivan 5780