As we all turn from the national election to the future in America, we realize that we are on a sudden and unexpected journey. How can the Torah help us to find our way?
In this week’s parshah, lekh-lekha, God tells Avram that it is time to leave the land of his birth, his father’s house, and go to a land that He will show him, and that He will bless him. It must have seemed like an impossible journey, yet he goes with no complaint.
Why did Avram go? God commands him two ways.
First, Lekh lekha, “Go for you.” Avram needed to face the unknown, and to remove himself from an environment of idolatry in order to achieve his own potential. When he is true to his own beliefs and actions he will be transformed and fulfilled, though the journey may be difficult and the challenges seem insurmountable. Avram will face threat against his family in Egypt, a hostage crisis with his nephew, war with his neighbors, family turmoil between Sarah and Hagar, and the proposed sacrifice of his son Isaac. His life is not promised to be easy, but if he follows his faith, it will be meaningful and impactful.
Second, he is promised that God will make of him a great nation and that he will be a blessing. Avram, the individual will be renamed Avraham, “The Avram of a multitude.” By being Avraham, a socially and politically engaged individual, he can help set his family, his people, and his nation on the right path.
So each of us must find our path. It must be grounded in faith, hope and commitment to our highest ideals. And we must be willing to face and engage the challenges and tests in a complex and often difficult world. We must be involved in the society and the politics of our age, while protecting our families and neighbors in dignity. We must be our best selves, for the many.
Lekhu Lakhem, Go on your journey and be a blessing.