Weekly Manna with Rhonda Goodrich-Rawis
Parashat Lech Lecha
Lech lecha has become an emotional Torah portion for me. My own story is one of G-d’s voice telling me lech lecha, and the difficult decisions I had to make if I was going to heed that voice and go where He led. But what I find fascinating is the fact that so many people tell me this portion speaks to them in very personal ways as well. It seems we all have our “lech lecha” moments, when we know G-d is telling us to make a change……..a change in location, or a change in vocation, or a change behavior………but in every case, it is a cry to “go where I will lead you, for your own sake”.
I have heard this portion of Lech lecha described as a map. A map that leads the soul on its path to maturity. The journey from wherever we are now, to where He will lead us if we heed His call.
Rabbi Yehudah Leib, Alter of Ger interprets this parsha as a journey: “Go to the Land that I will show you – where I will make you VISIBLE – where your potential being will be realized in multiform and unpredictable ways.” (Sefer Sefat Emet al ha-Torah u-Mo’adim, Lekh Lekha).
Taking this journey is the only way we see our potential. The journey is how G-d makes our potential visible. Each step of the journey reveals another aspect, another clue of not only our potential, but also our destination. Avram is our role model. Despite the discouragements, conflicts, and challenges he faced, he never wavered. He trusted G-d every step of the journey.
From my own experience, the more difficult it is to trust G-d, the greater the reward for doing so. Sometimes life can seem so overwhelming that we find ourselves in fear of despair. But if we can somehow find the inner strength to thank G-d even through the darkest of days, we are guaranteed to find peace of mind no matter the outcome.
Something I heard once, that has always stuck with me, is that if we want to cry, G-d will give us reasons to cry; however, if we want to rejoice and be thankful, He will give us reasons to rejoice and be thankful. As Rabbi Yehezqel of CMY Toronto has taught many times, Hashem is our shadow. Tehillim 121 tells us He will be to us, as we are to Him. So like Avram in lech lecha, if we will listen to His call, we can be assured that He will hear us when we call to Him.
Our lives are a journey of purification, and as we are called into the service of our King, we will be challenged to cultivate the qualities that are required for the job we have been given. But please remember, we need only take one step at a time.
If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to begin a journal, and remember your own life path and see if you cannot identify the ways Hashem has been revealing your potential, and the ways He has been helping you to remain on the path He has customized for you, and to develop the qualities you will need to reach your destination.
I pray that each of us will stay focused on our journey. May we follow G-d’s lead, as He makes visible our potential. May we respond to Him the way we want Him to respond to us! And may we never despair or lose faith when we are asked to make sacrifices, or when we are faced with famine, warfare, or whatever disappointment or tragedy we may encounter.
Be blessed and be a blessing,