The Crossroads of Lech Lecha
This week was our first full week back to class here at Mayanot… and all of us here agree that it was a FULL week. After being on vacation for 3 weeks, your brain starts to get a little out of shape and then all of a sudden your back in class from 7:30 am to 9pm for 5 days a week and you end up extremely overwhelmed on a mental level. Not only that, but a lot of us entered into this Shabbos emotionally overstimulated also. I think many of us are just starting to figure out just how far we still have to go until we figure out who we really are and what path Hashem wants us to take in our lives. And as if that wasn’t stressful enough, most of us feel as if we’re anywhere from 18 to 29 years late to the ballgame…
And then comes Parshas Lech Lecha, the Torah portion that was read in shul this morning. In the very beginning of the parshah, what happens? Hashem tells Avram [at the age of 75!!!] to begin his journey… So if we’re in our mid-20s, it turns out we’re actually half a century early, nothing to worry about 😉
Now granted, it’s not as if Avram did nothing for the first 75 years of his life… but not until this parshah do we really hear about him because this is the first time he does something strictly to have a relationship with Hashem. What did he do? He left! He picked up his entire family and left his land, his birthplace, and his father’s home and he went “south” towards Yerushalayim, towards the very place that I’m lucky enough to be spending my year in right now. And when Avram got here, he was able to serve Hashem better than he ever had before. This is the Holy Land after all, and the connection to G-d here make it so much easier to engage ourselves and those around is in the holiness of serving Hashem.
But after just one year in Israel, what happens? Famine hits the land and Avram is forced to leave. He has to head south to Mitzrayim, to Egypt, where he has to deal with trials and tribulations as crazy as his wife being kidnapped and taken to Pharaoh. Why?! All Avram wanted to do was serve G-d, to be in the holy land and spread the name of Hashem! What sense does it make to leave?
But just as Avram had to leave Eretz Yisrael and go down to Mitzrayim, so to will I (and all of the other girls here at Mayanot) eventually have to leave Yerushalayim and head back out into the world. But Parshas Lech Lecha isn’t just a set of traveling instructions for Avram… the Rebbe teaches us that it is actually a lesson to all Jews on how we should live our lives. When Avram went to Israel, he learned how to serve Hashem better than when he was still at home. But in order to really fulfill his true potential, in order to merit the name change and become the Avraham that we all know and love, he had to first leave the holy land and go wherever Hashem took him. When G-d told him to begin his journey, He didn’t just say Lech (Go), He said Lech LECHA (Go to YOURSELF), and all throughout his journeys both in and outside of Israel, Avraham found ways to return to who he truly was: a soul who wants to serve Hashem.
Even though I’ll have to eventually leave this holy place, Parshas Lech Lecha teaches us that no matter where we go or what we do in life, we can do it in a way that helps us go to ourselves, to connect to who we are on an essential level. And when we are able to really understand that even the physicality of our world can be used in a holy way during our journey of Lech Lecha, then we will be able to follow in Avraham’s footsteps and return BACK to Yerushalayim with the coming of Moshiach, may it be soon!!
Gute voch, shavua tov, may you all have a happy and healthy week as you continue on your journey to yourself 🙂
[This was my Dvar Torah this Shabbos as said to the Mayanot family and staff 🙂 Hope you enjoyed!]