Get outta here! That is what God tells Abram in this week’s Torah portion. Lech lecha— the name of this Torah portion— refers to the words that God uses to command Abram to leave everything that was familiar to him to set out on an epic journey.
The text says:
לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ׃
Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. However, the translation of lech lecha here “go forth” only tells part of the story. You see, "lech" means “go” or “travel” but “lecha” literally means “to yourself.” So, by telling Abram to get moving away from all that he knew, God was also commanding Abram to go towards himself. To find himself. How many times in our lifetime do we need to stop, pause and leave behind all that we know in order to get closer to who we are as human beings.? Growing means getting outside of ourselves. Getting uncomfortable. Seeing new environments to force us to choose what to bring along with us and what to leave behind. To define what is essential to our humanity. In comic books and fine literature, this is known as the arc of the hero. The hero grows up in one place, departs for an epic journey, and returns a hero. Transformed into something greater than what they were when they began. So, anytime we feel hesitant about venturing out in life, remember parashat lech lecha— and God’s command to go. Because God's promise of such a journey is found in verse 2:
וְאֶֽעֶשְׂךָ֙ לְג֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל וַאֲבָ֣רֶכְךָ֔ וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ וֶהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה׃
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing.May we each set out to transform ourselves and the world, and may it be a blessing. Amen.