Vertluch: Parshas Lech L’cha

(Friday, October 26th, 2012)

When our souls agree to descend into this world to be born, we embark on a lifelong journey. We are entrusted with a mission, something that can only be completed by the individual with their own unique makeup and capabilities. Our mission is enduring and the path to the destination is long and winding, one that we must travel without sight of its eventual end. The only way to ultimately make it to the end is by setting short-term goals, breaking up the expedition into smaller trips, pausing and breaking at points along the way. Sometimes we get lost focusing on the short-term target and lose sight of the final objective; thus one of the challenges of life is not detouring from our course or settling at a waypoint, rather keeping our eyes on the eventual target.

Hashem gives Avraham the charge of ‘lech l’cha’- uprooting himself from his homeland, his birthplace and his family and sojourn to an undisclosed destination. Avraham is naturally concerned about how this will affect his fulfillment of some of his goals. Three of the most important things man naturally aspires to be are establishing progeny, building wealth and constituting a reputation. These are things which traveling indefinitely at the very least limits if not entirely debilitates. Making this journey would mean Avraham risking achieving these objectives. In reference to the ultimate purpose of life they are inconsequential. If Hashem gives a command, then following His will certainly overrides these smaller goals. And Avraham, was willing to make the sacrifice. But Hashem told him “V’e’eshcha l’goy gadol v’avarechacha v’agadla shmecha”- Hashem would not only not allow the excursion to infringe on Avraham’s life but He even guaranteed that Avraham will be successful in these endeavors.

When Hashem gave this mission to Avraham he was living in Ur Kasdim. His ancestral home was in Charan but he decided to move to Cana’an. While journeying from Charan to Cana’an he stopped off in Ur Kasdim and ended up settling there. Hashem told him to travel to the land He would show him; he did not let Avraham know that He was directing him to Cana’an. Avraham goes off on this journey having no inkling of where he was going, no idea how this would affect his life. But Hashem took him to very destination he had himself already determined he wanted to settle in. He had gotten sidetracked from his own goal by settling in Ur Kasdim, Hashem put him back on track and brought him to the very place he wanted to be.

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This experience teaches us a lesson of how our own lives work. There are times where it’s difficult for us to take the actions necessary to achieve our long-term goals because they interfere with achieving our short-term goals and attaining the things we desire in life. And as we journey through life we get distracted. We lose sight of the greater scheme and forget the aim we originally set for ourselves. We stop for a break at a way station and stay, thinking we’ve reached our destination. Avraham’s nisayon of lech l’cha teaches us that there will be experiences and hardships in life, we will be in places we don’t understand what we’re doing there, and sometimes we won’t know where we’re headed and how that will affect our lives. There will be things expected of us which seemingly will deny us the fulfillment of our needs and wants. But if we stay strong and do the right thing Hashem will guide to exactly where we want to be, He will ensure our every goal is reached, our every dream is realized, and leave this life with our mission accomplished.

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