This week, we meet Judaism’s visionaries: Abraham and Sarah. God reaches out with an invitation to take a journey: lech lecha. It’s a Hebrew phrase that is often difficult to translate. The first word, lech, is the command ‘go’, which we immediately recognize. However, the second word, lecha, is out of place in this phrase. Lecha means ‘for you’, which has generated many commentaries on how this journey will benefit them, it is a journey ‘for you’.
But the word lecha doesn’t only mean ‘for you’, it also means ‘to you’.
It now suggests that the journey of covenant, and Judaism, is a journey of self-discovery. At the end of the road we travel, we are to meet our true selves. Lech lecha now translates as ‘go toward yourself’.
For the first three generations of our ancestry, our Matriarchs and Patriarchs each embark on their own lech lecha journey that takes them to different Jewish realities. Each of their journeys is unique. Once Jacob, our last ancestor, lies on his deathbed, he passes it to his descendants as an inherited legacy.
Each Jewish person inherits the invitation. Lech lecha, walk a path of unknown discoveries filled with challenges and surprises. It is never guaranteed to be only good, but it is always guaranteed to feel right when you find your unique lech lecha path.
We sometimes make a life decision that can shape the years ahead, but the life journey of lech lecha sets our feet on a path that began long before us, and will extend far beyond us. The future imagined by Abraham and Sarah, and the vision they bring to the world, is only surpassed by the courage of this moment as they answer God and take a first step.
I’d like to wish everyone a sweet and peaceful Shabbat –our Jewish time to regroup, rest, and reinvigorate.