Lech Lecha 5770/2009: "Ready"
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Abraham's journey begins with separation. The travels begin accompanying his father, and then continue alone. God's command is deeply persona: Go. Go to yourself. Leave whom you were behind, everything and everyone you've known. We know this story, and yet return to it with wonder every year. It opens us to a rebirth of identity, a celebration of self, a readiness to plunge into the unknown future with faith and with trust.
But there is a somewhat hidden aspect of Abraham's (then 'Abram' ) journey. He is never truly alone. God's command to Abram as an individual is fulfilled in the company of his life-partner Sarah (then 'Sarai'). When the time comes for Abraham's name change (upon his circumcision) their names change together.
My mother once described one life path joined with another. That even when two people choose to join their paths, the paths never truly become one. The adventure continues in unexpected ways, and the deepest joy comes from learning about each other, exploring new twists over and over. May we all be blessed in this deep way by our teachers and friends, the ones who help us soar by keeping us rooted.
Abraham wasn't alone. He saw things others missed. But the laughter in his life was a direct consequence of Sarah's soul.
Parashat Lech Lecha is a call to each of us: Begin the journey. Encounter loss, encounter birth. Be the individual you are and that you are meant to be. Unfold. And share that intense self, that holy spark, with another, until the light emanating from every soul illuminates the world.
Who can know what is waiting to emerge from this sacred journey? Where will we end up? God tells Abram to trust, and to set out. Abram is described by the Midrash as "an uncorked bottle of perfume" whose glorious scent infuses the earth only when he is in motion. When we choose to not become frozen, when we allow time to flow through us, when we endure loss and still affirm life... then are we not alone.
This week we are called. We are ready.
May we bring ourselves and each other to good, deep, alive places.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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