Lech Lecha

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1 (KJV)

Get thee out – God tells Abram, lech lecha (לֶךְ-לְךָ), get thee out. As is much of the Hebrew Bible, this is another play on words. The words may sound identical, but actually mean two different things: “go” and “to yourself.” The implication is that although Abraham must undergo a traumatic departure from his native land, he is actually traveling to find his more authentic self. Once Abraham enters the land, his true relationship with the one Lord can grow. 

The Jewish sages believed that a change of one’s physical environment brings in its wake an improvement in one’s fortune. My own elders professed these very same things when my ancestors came to America. After a time in Los Angeles, they promoted moving to the country, or a more rural environment, as an improvement for our community. They recognized that a more rural lifestyles would have a positive impact on a smaller religious community.

Baba Metzia also suggested that if one experiences bad luck in one place without moving to another place one has oneself to blame if one’s fortunes do not improve.

Notice that God did not tell Abram where to go, just to go. Blessings would be upon him, nations would come from him, but for Abram, the journey was not necessarily about a physical place only. It was about finding who he really was. While physical location can impact much of a person’s life, one of the most important journeys we have to take comes from within ourselves. Are we willing to trust that God is with us? Are we willing to take the step to align ourselves with what God commands us to do?

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