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13 Cheshvan 5784 - October 28, 2023

Parshat Lech Lecha

Rabbi's Reflections

-The Shield of Avraham: Protecting Our Inner Holiness -

At the beginning of parshat Lech-Lecha, God tells Avraham, “Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Bereshit 12:1). Interestingly, God never reveals the exact destination to Avraham. Instead, Avraham and his entire household must move by faith and nothing more – a daunting task to say the least. One could say that Avraham did have GPS, except for him, it meant, “God is Promising Something.” What that was precisely, he did not know. And so, understanding the vagueness of His command, God reassures Avraham that his faith will be rewarded, saying, “And I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing” (Ibid., 12:2). What is the exact meaning of this promise? How is this any kind of reassurance? 

According to Rashi, based on the Gemara in Pesachim, these words allude to the blessing we recite during the Amidah at least three times a day, every day: “Blessed are You, Lord our God and the God of our ancestors, God of Avraham, God Yitzchak, and God of Yaakov…Blessed are You, Lord, Shield of Avraham.” Says Rashi, “I will make of you a great nation,” refers to “God of Avraham.” “I will bless you” refers to “God of Yitzchak,” and “I will make your name great,” refers to “God of Yaakov.” And Rashi continues, “One might think that we should conclude the blessing (in the Amidah) in which these invocations are recited by mentioning again the names of all the Patriarchs. Therefore, the Scripture says, ‘You will be a blessing,’ meaning with you (i.e. with your name only, Avraham) shall they conclude the blessing, and not with them, (the other names of the Patriarchs).” How is this a reward for Avraham’s faith? After all, Avraham was an extremely humble man. In fact, he did not want recognition or credit for any of his achievements or contributions. Avraham, more than anyone, understood that all he was, everything he possessed and all that he merited was due to God’s kindness and compassion, as it says, “I am but dust and ash” (Ibid., 18:27).  

To help us understand the deeper meaning of Avraham’s reward, we should turn to the words of the Baal Shem Tov, who explains that because Avraham showed such great faith in God, the essence of Avraham’s faith would be implanted in the soul of every Jew to come. No matter how distant a Jew may become from his or her Judaism, no matter how removed a Jew may feel from God, Torah, tradition or observance, no matter how low a Jew may sink, that spark of Avraham’s faith will remain in their hearts and souls as an eternal, inextinguishable, glowing ember of hope for return. Thus, God tells Avraham, “Fear not Avraham, I am a shield to you” (Ibid., 15:1). That is to say, “I, God, will be that shield within your soul and within the souls of all of your descendants which preserves their purity, and keeps them connected no matter how far they stray.” As the Gemara says, “Even when the Jewish people sin, they still [have the sanctity] of the being called ‘Israel’” (B. Talmud, Sanhedrin 44a). 

Our ability to maintain a constant connection with God and to access our own inherent goodness, holiness and purity comes from Avraham. This is why we conclude the blessing in the Amidah with Avraham’s name and on one else’s – because it is in Avraham’s merit that every Jew has an everlasting spark of kedusha which can never go out, and it is in Avraham’s merit that every Jew has the limitless potential to reach the highest heights of spirituality, righteousness and morality.

Indeed, it is the faith of Avraham which has sustained and continues to sustain every Jew. It is the faith of Avraham, a faith forged by the words, “Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you,” which shines brightly in the soul of every Jew no matter the dross that covers it. It is the faith of Avraham which compels us to continue to seek spirituality, meaning and morality is a dark world, and it is this faith which inspires us all to remember our own inherent value to God. This Shabbat, may we all reflect upon the incredibly precious gift given to us by our father Avraham’s faith, and may cherish it as our key to unlock the undisclosed destinations of life’s meaning, so that we, like Avraham, can serve as a blessing for our families, our community, the Jewish people, and for all humanity. 

Shabbat Shalom!

-Rabbi Dan

Schedule of Services at B'nai Abraham

Friday Night

Candle Lighting


Mincha & Kabbalat Shabbat





Youth Services









Monday - Friday



CTI Announcements

FIDF – Friends of Israel Defense Forces Austin Evening of Solidarity: On Wednesday night, at an event at CAA attended by over 125 people, CTI members, on-campus leadership, and members of our community came together and helped raise over $300,000 for the Friends of Israel Defense Forces. 

FIDF ( is the sole organization authorized to collect charitable donations on behalf of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces across the United States of America. The money we helped raise right here in Austin will help to buy ambulances, bandages, medical supplies, and other necessities for our IDF soldiers. Attendees had the opportunity to hear compelling remarks from Rabbi Steve Weil, the CEO of FIDF. Thank you to all of our event sponsors, all who attended and contributed to this successful event.

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Shalom Austin Emergency Campaign.


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CTI Kiddush Krew

The CTI "Kiddush Krew" is looking for additional volunteers to help with our Shabbat kiddush efforts. Please contact Beth Shapiro through the kiddush contact form if you are interested in learning how you can help!

Thank you Steve Swernofsky for sponsoring Kiddush in honor of his two daughters, Sarah and Rebecca, who both became Bat Mizvah on Lech Lecha, and his two sons, Joseph and Edward.

A BIG THANK YOU to the CTI Community for stepping up to sponsor a Kiddush! Your sponsorships have been filling up our kiddush calendar nicely, and we are currently booked through the end of November, with some spots in December and January already taken. 

If you would like to sponsor a kiddush in December or January (or beyond), please take a look at our calendar and reserve your spot! And THANK YOU for supporting CTI and our community with your sponsorship!

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Mazel Tov!

  • Sandra Hoffman on October 28 (Birthday)

Yahrtzeit Remembrances

  • Roland Miller, Father of Marcia Sutter, on Monday 15 Cheshvan
  • Morris Shaftel, Father of Myles Shaftel, on Friday 19 Cheshvan

May their souls be bound up in the bond of life.

Torah Classes at CTI

Take Your Tanakh Series

Tuesday Night | 7:00pm - The Book of Isaiah

Wednesday Morning | 8:15am - The Book of Job

Click Here for more information on how to join these exciting classes.


Thank you to Offer Shavit, Jay Rubin, Erik Rahimi,

and David Chapin for their aliyah donations.

Thank you to Jay and Carol Rubin for their donation to the Chesed Fund.

Thank you to Yoni and Kimberley Pack-Cosme and

Effi Klein and for their donations to the General Fund.

Thank you to Scott and Felicia Weingarten for their donation

in honor of the bris of their son Morris Weingarten.

Thank you to our anonymous donors.

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Contact Us!

Rabbi Dan Millner:

[email protected] 

Phone: 512-410-0336 X101

For more contact numbers and emails, visit our website.

Refuah Shelayma To:

  • Allene Novy-Portnoy; Hannah Bassa bat Sarah Osnat 
  • Avshalom ben Hannah Bassa
  • Cindy Newman 
  • Janet Goldberg; Shayna Masha bat Chasha Mina
  • Ken Friedman
  • Rebecca Millner; Rivkah bat Shoshana
  • Sheina Ruchel bat Henya Leah
  • Tzvi David ben Rivka Golda
  • Yoel Simcha ben Chaya Risha 
  • Sulta bat Nedgma
  • Zvi Aharon ben Bayla
  • Yaira bat Sarah
  • Tamar bat Chaya
  • Ilana bat Gheita
  • HaRav Avram Meir ben Eli Yosef v'Shira Chanah.
  • Rabbi Harold Liebowitz, HaRav Chaim Alter ben Necha. 
  • Baruch Akiva Ben Rivka
  • Miriam bat Helen
  • Rivka Michal bat Sarah Chana
  • Lori Garza 
  • Yisroel Natan ben Sarah
  • Masha Gitil bas Chaya Yita
  • Allen Levinson; Avraham Yitzchak ben Gittel
  • Moshe ben Reizel
  • David Chapin
  • Avigail Malkah bat Devorah
  • David Moshe ben Sylvia
  • Shoshana bat Yocheved
  • Miriam bat Rachel v'Mordechai
  • Alta Shoshana bat Shulamit
  • Meir Psachia ben Tziril
  • Geni Berman Abitbol
  • Beilya Golda bat Leah
  • Yosef Yehoshua ben Sarah
  • Jonathan Malawer (Yosef ben Bracha)
  • Fivel ben Sarah HaLevi
  • Adam ben Chanah
  • Rafael ben Sheindal Leah
  • Aharon Asher ben Chaya Naomi
  • Esther Malka Fraida bat Serel Chaya Raiza
  • Esther Reva bat Malka
  • Avraham ben Rut
  • Sheva Eva bat Bella.
  • Moshe ben Rut
  • Shulkah Malka bat Tziporah
  • Chandal bat Basia
  • Shmuel Dovid bat Malka
  • Anthony Ben Devorah
  • Shayna Leah bat Yehudit
  • Reuven ben Shira
  • Batyah bat Sara
  • Rachel Tzivia bat Malka
  • Chava Golda bat Leah
  • David Yosef ben Aga
  • Layla Tzohara bat Naomi Rivkeh
  • Shimon Yaakov ben Sarah

 Wishing all Cholei Yisrael a Refuah Shlayma. 

Dear Tiferet Friends, 

If you placed a name on the Refuah Shelayma list and G-d willing the person is well, 

please let us know. Also, if you have a friend or family member who needs 

prayers for healing, again please let us know at [email protected]  

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