Perashat Lekh Lekha 5778
Perashat Lekh Lekha 5778Friday, October 27, 2017
Our Perasha this week is Lekh Lekha, which means, "Go forth". In choosing to reveal Himself to Abraham Abinu at this juncture, Hashem is telling him, "do not accept the state that you are in as good enough. Rather, you are destined to become something greater and must leave behind what you know to do so."
This commandment serves as a reminder for all generations to never become attached to an assumed reality without the ability to break out of the routine. Moving forward is made up of two aspects. The first is having the capacity to remove oneself from the current state of being, as the opening pasuk continues, "...from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house". Do not stay stuck in the same place. The second aspect is the willingness to go forth on a journey to the unknown. As it states in the pasuk, "to the land that I will show you". Abraham did not know where Hashem was leading him but instinctively knew it was for his benefit.
These two feats are not easy. It is hard to uproot ourselves from a place we are used to, a place in which routine enables us to conduct ourselves effortlessly without having to make new decisions.
We are comfortable in a familiar routine, and this is true for almost every aspect of our lives, whether it is in our religious life, in our personal relationships, in our professional life or with our surroundings.
The same is true for faith in the Creator of the World and in fulfilling His missvot. Faith may lead some people to a certain religious comfort zone that lulls one into following Halakha and Minhag without demanding any spiritual progress. Even for the faithful it could be difficult to acquire a renewal of Emunah, a better Tefilla, character development, or any other matter that necessitates uprooting oneself from stalemate.
It is not comfortable to embark on a journey to the unknown. We would all like to grow spiritually, but we all have a fundamental fear of where the journey of a religious awakening may lead us. What will it demand from us and how will we look during the odyssey? It is no wonder Abraham Abinu is given this command in the very first revelation of Hashem to him. This is the essence of a religious journey, renewal, readiness, faith, and advancing towards the unknown.
How much of this is relevant to us today? On the one hand, we are privileged to be part of a journey that began more than 3,500 years ago. We are not asked to completely extricate ourselves from everything familiar and to go to a new land. On the other hand, this does have a message for us. There is nothing worse than stagnancy in faith. Our sages tell us, "Every day, you shall regard the commandments as if they are brand new". [Midrash Tanhuma] This is based on the words of the Prophet Isaiah, "...and their worship of Me has been a commandment of men, learned by rote".
One who makes the effort to keep missvot in a renewed way, such as enlivening his/her prayers, emulates Abraham Abinu. The family who finds a way to enhance the way they experience their Shabbat table and make it a trip into the unknown is continuing Abraham's great journey.
May 31 2020
Sivan 8 5780