Parashat Lekh Lekha
“GET OUT!” – G-d makes it very clear to Avram that only through self-imposed exile can he attain his ultimate spiritual potential.
Parashat Lekh Lekha, unlike our first two portions in Genesis, emphasizes this convergence between G-d and creation. According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Torah thus far can be summarized as: Breishit describes the works of G-d; Noach describes the efforts of humanity; and Lekh Lekha describes the cooperation between humanity (Avraham) and G-d.
The opening phrase of our Torah portion, “Lekh Lekha” is usually translated “Go forth.” However, it can also be translated as “Go into yourself.” In this case, G-d is not just asking Avram to leave a physical place, G-d is asking him to delve into, and thereby, leave himself and enter into a covenant – a special relationship between himself and HaShem.
With a little help from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the opening phrase can be further broken down into these personal applications:
- “Lekh Lekha (Go forth) …” – We must leave ourselves to reveal our true identities.
- “From your land …” – Alludes to leaving behind all worldliness, and all physical desires which keep us from growing spiritually.
- “From your birthplace …” – Requires abandoning our comfort zones and those practices we often do by rote (including spiritual acts done by rote like prayer and mitzvot). We must especially leave behind those negative habits we were brought up to follow.
- “From your father’s house …” – Alludes to our own rationalization, and our own perceived wisdom.
- “To the land that I will show you …” – G-d desires that we all should reach our spiritual land. As such, only G-d will lead us to and reveal to us true spirituality.
However, the secret to finding our true identities requires sacrificing ourselves and our own comforts and finding ourselves in relation to G-d. “Going forth” requires abandoning those things which hold us back, and pressing on to that which lies ahead.
The primary jewel we can glean from Lekh Lekha is faith. Like Avram, we may not always be able to grasp G-d’s desires for us. We may even doubt, just as Avram did when G-d repeatedly promised he would have many offspring. However, in the end Avram believed. No matter his doubts, he had faith that G-d would indeed fulfill His promises.
“And [Avram] believed in HaShem, and it was accounted to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
By faith, G-d revealed to Avraham the mysteries of heaven, blessed him and his family, and led him into the Promised Land. The author of Hebrews further emphasizes:
“Without faith, it is impossible to please G-d, for whoever approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
It is not enough just to believe that G-d exists. We must also believe that G-d is faithful to reward those who seek Him, just as Hebrews states. We must “Go forth!” We must exile ourselves from our comfort zones and away from ourselves so that in the end, when we finally step into the Promised Land, we will step into the place of destiny and blessing.