If Abraham Had Traveled in the 21st Century #2

For Lack of Money

In last week’s post, If Abraham Had Traveled in the 21st Century, I wrote that God promised Abraham three things to convince him to go on a journey; reputation, money and kids. As Rashi explains, these three factors are negatively affected during long-term travel.

If Abraham had gone on a trip today, something in the scale of a RTW (round-the-world) journey, he could have definitely made it financially. One of my favorite authors is Timothy Ferriss. In his best-selling book The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim states that if you work correctly, outsource your life and move your occupation online, you can travel the world and make a living too.

Lately I read another fantastic book called The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau. Chris explains in painstaking detail “how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living”.

I really like the idea. Assuming Abraham was talented (a Midrash I once saw declared that he invented mathematics), then he would have done just fine with an online entrepreneurial business.


Concerning fertility and having children, that’s a completely different ball-game. At first I really couldn’t understand what Rashi meant about travel not being good for fertility.  After all Abraham and Sarah traveled slowly from campsite to campsite. At many stops they set up shop convincing pagans to accept monotheism. What would be the problem with having children on the way? Privacy issues? I doubt it. The main problem was that Sarah was physically infertile. Literally. Nevertheless Rashi writes unequivocally that travel in general is not conducive to fertility.

What about today? Is modern travel good or bad for fertility? At first glance travel conditions today are great. Much better than 3000 years ago. Is there still an issue to deal with?

It would seem that there are problems with long-haul travel that Abraham and Sarah didn’t need to worry about that the modern couple does. According to scientific findings, jet-lag, erratic sleep cycles, changes in diet and lack of routine, have a bad effect (even if short term) on a woman’s reproductive cycle.

See the following articles for details:

Another thing that our ancestors probably didn’t have to cope with like we do is STRESS. Travel might be fun, but when you are in a non-stop state of new experiences, unfamiliar foods, coupled with catching planes and trains, shlepping around luggage and looking for where to eat and what to do every day, that’s stress.

It’s good stress when you travel on vacation (or eu-stress to be exact), but stress nevertheless. Many people I know return from vacation more exhausted then when they left and need a vacation to recuperate from the vacation.

I’m not saying that this is definitely what Rashi had in mind when he wrote that travel is harmful to fertility, but maybe it is…


3 thoughts on “If Abraham Had Traveled in the 21st Century #2”

  1. Good point. He was forced into Egypt and was happy to go UP again to the Land. THAT may be the sign for his Offspring to look for. 😉

  2. Nice try to associate Abraham’s journeying with this blog. However, although Abram set out to travel (Genesis 12:1-9), all too soon, he finds out that this was not for moving around, but rather for reaching a destination. In Genesis 12:1 he finds himself going DOWN to Egypt. By the time he returns (13:1), he already knows the limits of the Land, and goes UP. He was on a mission. The opposite of leisure trips. Don’t confuse dedication with navigation, pressure with pleasure.

    1. Hi MM, good to hear from you again.
      People travel for many reasons of which “leisure” is only one.
      To quote Wikipedia: “Reasons for traveling include recreation,tourism or vacationing,research travel for the gathering of information, for holiday to visit people, volunteer travel for charity, migration to begin life somewhere else, religious pilgrimages and mission trips, business travel, trade, commuting, and other reasons, such as to obtain health care or fleeing war OR for the enjoyment of traveling.”. I agree that the case of Abraham is not an exact match to my blog, but I enjoy extracting particular aspects of his challenges to learn from in our own lives. As it says in Chazal “Maaseh Avot Siman Le’banim” – The actions of the Forefathers are a sign for the Children.

Comments are closed.