Although Avrohom and Soroh had not yet been blessed with children, Hashem directs Avrohom outside to look up and count the stars, saying, “Thus will be your descendants.” Why did Hashem command Avrohom to count the stars? We know that they are so numerous that it is beyond the realm of possibility for any human being. Rav Meir Shapiro zt”l points out that despite the impossibility of the task, Avrohom went out and attempted to count the stars and therefore, Hashem responded with כה יהיה זרעך - “This is the way your descendants will be!”
Avrohom showed that even when it looks impossible and out of one’s reach, one should give it one’s best and try, no matter what. This is the characteristic of כלל ישראל : Even when it looks impossible, we must still try. And when we try, we are granted כחות, strengths, that we never dreamed of having. This is the brochoh of כה יהיה זרעך“ - thus shall your descendants be,” the attribute of looking at what seems impossible, never giving up, and being rewarded with extra powers.
Rav Meir Shapiro’s words provide us, as parents, with a valuable lesson to transmit to our children. We need to share with our children the legacy of Avrohom Avinu – that we need to constantly strive and always reach beyond our grasp. This is the antithesis of the approach of “lawnmower parents,” who seek to remove obstacles that they feel are difficult for their children. Our children each have untold resources, talents, and energies that will emerge as they aim higher and achieve. This is the brochoh that we have and we need to let our children know so that they will not be afraid to “reach for the stars.”
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School