This Shabbat we will read the Torah Portion Lech-L’cha.
This Torah portion begins with God’s first words to Avram, telling him:
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ
“Lech l’cha me’artz’cha, u’mi’moladt’cha u’mi’beit avicha el ha’aretz asher ar’eka”
“Go, for you, from your land and from your birthplace and from the house of your father to the land that I will show you”
In this verse the word “l’cha” (for you) seems to be an unnecessary one.
Rashi explains the word “l’cha” – for you – means in this context ‘for your own benefit’.
In our tradition the above G-d’s command to Avram to leave his homeland is considered to be the second test (out of ten) that G-d had Avram go through.
(The first test was when Avram had recognized the undeniable existence of God at the age of three.
King Nimrod, who worshiped idols, threatened to throw Avram into a fiery furnace if he wouldn’t renounce his beliefs.
Avram was willing to sacrifice his life in order to avoid renouncing this G-d that he so firmly believed in. He was thrown into the furnace and emerged unscathed.)
In Hebrew the word “test” – נסיון (nisayon) is derived from the root נס (nes).
Many know the meaning of it – Miracle
However נס means also to uplift.
Many are familiar with the word דגל (degel) – ‘flag’.
נס also means ‘flag’, because a flag is lifted up.
Test = Miracle = Flag
How does a test become an uplifting process?
Well, when a person goes through certain circumstances, these cause him to make decisions as to how he will act responding to them.
These decisions and the subsequent stand that is taken change the person and uplift him in a way that otherwise would not have happened.
So, let’s now take a look at the uplifting test that forced Avram to leave his “comfort zone.”
“… go, for you, from your land and from your birthplace and from the house of your father…”
The order of leaving his land, that God commanded Avram seems to be reversed.
Logically put, a person first leaves his father’s house, then his birthplace and finally his land.
Why was Avram commanded to leave his land, then his birthplace and finally, his parent’s house?
Furthermore, without God specifying where he should go to, Avram started to travel to the Land of Canaan, The Land of Israel.
Also, how did Avram know that God wanted him to go specifically to the land of Canaan?
The reversed order of Avram’s leaving reveals to us the true nature of his journey.
In a physical sense one does first leave his father’s house, then his birthplace and finally his land. However, Avram needed to first go away from the idolatrous influences that had been surrounding him.
The next, more difficult step has been – to remove the influences of his birthplace. This had a much greater effect on Avram and affected his views and who he was to a much stronger degree.
Only after these first two steps have been taken could Avram take the final step – leave his parent’s home. Home, which had nurtured him, those influences which had shaped and molded him.
From them Avram had to depart.
Avram understood that the journey commanded by God was meant to change and uplift him.
According to many commentators Avram knew that the Land of Canaan was the Holy land, because Adam and Eve were buried there. That was the place which afforded the spiritual environment where he could fully realize this uplifting process.
Once he understood what he had to leave behind, it became very clear to him, without needing to specify, that the place to go to was the land of Canaan, where he could express himself to his full potential.
In Hebrew the word “l’cha” – לְךָ ‘for you’ could also be translated as ‘to you’.
So – “Lech L’cha” means then ‘Go to you’.
It carries a message: Go – to discover yourself!
Go to reveal the deep layers of your very essence, recognize your capabilities and the responsibility that comes with those capabilities. Realize who you really are and who you can become!
Some of these concepts are explored in Aryeh Sampson’s book “Go to Yourself”.
Life is a journey full of choices. None of us can just glide to a mountain top. We must work, struggle, and climb. The same is true for having a great life. We won’t get there by accident or without effort.
If we make good choices along life’s path, we are likely to have a successful journey and reveal our inner treasures.
And sometimes a very long distance must be traveled in order to discover one’s inner treasure.
Click on the link below to listen to a popular song (almost a Hampton) – שאו ציונה נס ודגל
Se’uh Tziyona Nes Va’Degel
Raise (Uplift) the Flags to Zion
Yoel & Orly
Yoel & Orly
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