Parashat Lech-L’cha

By: Rabbi Heidi Cohen

Lech L’chah. Two simple words yet so many ways to translate and understand.

Lech, go! Very simple indeed.

L’chah, to you; yourself; for yourself; by yourself – differing meanings for sure.

These two opening words of this week’s Torah portion are more reflective for us as it seems that so often we are in transformative moments rather than sedentary. No longer do we rely on staying in one place both literally and figuratively. Even if we remain in our home or our job, we are always having to be “on the move.”

God said to Abram, lech l’chah, Go! For yourself/By yourself/to yourself! So many ways to take this direction from God. And Abram did go for himself. To go to a new land and new opportunities so that he could make for himself a new name. Abram went by himself as he only took his wife, Sarai, Lot, his nephew, and some attendants. Yet, he left everything else behind and he was left to wander alone toward a place he was told to go, by a God he could not see. And Abram went to himself, on a journey toward a new life during which he would discover more about himself and what he would be capable of and the fulfillment of a covenant God shared.

The journey was not an easy one. Abram would have to overcome the ridicule of his family and community he left behind in Ur to pursue a dream and a vision shared by God. And Abram would find himself alone with the fear of what might be and the uncertainty of his future.  Yet, this journey was a personal journey that would bring him closer to understanding that which he is capable of and becoming.

Each of us have heard the calling, lech l’chah, Go forward, for yourself, by yourself and to yourself! It is the calling to remember that even when life seems uncertain, create the goals and vision that we hope for ourselves. And while the journey may seem lonely because no one can possibly understand that which we are going through, sometimes we become stronger when we go out alone to discover who we are and want to be. And during this journey, during this time of reflection, we discover the new path that will lead us to who we are to become and where we are to go.

We have shared stories of jobs lost, retirements forced, and needs to relocate. It seems that in all of our lives, there is a call of lech l’chah, go! And while that journey either literally or figuratively can be scary and uncertain, we find we are strengthened through each step and in the destination in which we find ourselves.

Where is it you are going and how are you going forward for yourself, by yourself and to yourself? And what is it that you hope to learn on this journey that you are on?

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