Lech Lecha – Go Far Away
In our Perasha G-d tells Avram to leave his land, family and surroundings. His land was filled with idolatrous behavior.
The Rambam (deot) says that you generally follow the way of thinking as those who surround you. If your surrounding is filled with negative influence you should move to a different town. If the nearest town also has such terrible people you should move abroad. If all the towns are filled with bad influences you should live in the desert.
The Chassidic Master Yaacov Yosef wrote the book Toldot Yaacov Yosef. He says that this is why Avram was told to go away.
He goes on to further cite the Rambam who says that when one is sick physically or emotionally he should change his behavior to the other extreme. This behavior should be followed until he can go to the middle and live healthy lifestyle. In his youth Avram was entrenched in his society. When G-d told him to go away from his land he was telling him to go to the other extreme.
Bereshit (25, 20) Rivkah the daughter of Betuel the sister of Lavan Harami. Rivkah Imenu was the daughter of terrible person and her brother was also terrible. Rashi says that this is praise for Rivkah that she did not learn from her relatives.
Yaacov Yosef goes on to say that it would seem to be greater praise that she should learn from their ways which would be for the sake of heaven. After all our rabbi have said that a wise man is someone who learns from everyone.
We can learn many lessons from terrible people. A very interesting lesson which is pointed out is that we can learn from the enjoyment that treacherous people out of their behavior. We should enjoy doing good just as much as they thoroughly enjoy their base lifestyle.