Hashem speaks to Avraham and tells him to leave his land, his birthplace and his father’s house and He directs him to Israel. As a reward for observing this command Avraham is promised: VE’ESCHA LEGOY GADOL VA’AVARECHECHA VA’AGADLAH SHEMECHA VEHEYEH BERACHAH, “And I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing.” (Gen. 12,2)
The Talmud and the Midrashim, and Rashi quoting them, give many interpretations to the meaning of these blessings. In light of historical hind-sight and in view of modern events, it occurs that additional understandings of these blessing may be explained.
The first blessing was that Avraham will be made a great nation. Recognizing that the number of Jewish people today is so small how can we comprehend the fulfillment of this blessing? Perhaps the answer can be in a slightly different appreciation of its meaning. It does not intend to say that the Jews at any time will be counted in great numbers. Rather the meaning is that throughout the centuries, if you add up all the Jews that had existed, we out-number all other people who came and disappeared. The Jewish population, if added up during all the centuries of their survival, has been enormous. This fulfills the blessing.
The next blessing was to make the name of Avraham and his descendants great. When you look at history and see the position that Jews have held in almost every country in the world, you can appreciate that their name has been great. Wherever they went they contributed greatly to the host country. They were accepted and appreciated until jealousy took hold and they were chased out.
The final promise was that they will be a blessing. In spite of the great negative approach of the world to Israel and despite Israel’s constant battle with its enemies for survival, it has contributed to the progress of the modern world far above its proportion in population. No other country has made as many contributions to mankind per capita as the Jews of the world and of Israel have made.