“The Eternal said to Avram, “Leave your land, that which birthed you, and your paternal home and go to the land that I will show you.”” (Genesis 12:1)
Lekh-Lekha is one of my favorite portions in the annual Torah cycle. The word lekh means to “go” or “walk.” Lekh-Lekha essentially means “walk to yourself” or “go to yourself.” The Eternal has called on Avram to take a journey of self-discovery through the wilderness to a land that will be revealed.
In the calling itself, The Eternal gives a recipe for a transformative experience that will not only liberate Avram from his past, but strengthen him to discover who he is and will even culminate with receiving a new name.
There are three things which Avram is told he must leave: artzekha, “your land”; moladetekha, “your birth”; and beit avikha, “your parental home.”
Like Avram, we are each called to leave the comforts of what surrounds us and trust that the journey will transform us into better people. Avram’s sojourn led him to meet people different from him and allowed him to open his tent to complete strangers in hospitality and love (something I’d like to explore in next week’s post). And by the end, The Eternal gives him a trail name: Avraham – the father of nations.
Our world may seem like it is getting scarier and, as one friend reminded me today, once fear sets in, it is hard to shake. Perhaps it’s time we accepted The Eternal’s call to “walk to ourselves.” In other words, to be our truest selves. Perhaps in doing so, we can release our fears and be more open to those different from us – with their own unique cultures and their own unique heritages.
Don’t allow anyone but yourself to define who you are in this world and, in kind, let’s show others that we love them for who they are, too. Courage, my friend, you do not walk alone. I’m looking forward to seeing you on the journey.