Parashat Noach • Genesis 6:9-11:32

God’s covenant with Abraham includes the information that he will live a good, long life and be reconnected with his ancestors in peace (Genesis 15:15). Commentators on our sacred text point out that this is an astounding promise. Terach was an idolator, and the remainder of our text does not deal kindly with those who worship idols: how could Abraham reconnect with him in peace?

“And Terach took Abram his son…and they went forth from Ur of the Chalices to go to the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 11:31) These words, from the end of this week’s Torah portion, come BEFORE God’s command that Abraham should leave his home in the following chapter. They were already on the journey when God commanded “lech-lecha!” Rashi thus asserted that Terach repented at the end of his life, seeking not only to place physical distance between himself and the source of his transgression but a better relationship with his son. Sometimes physical movement can be what it takes to change our perspective — literally distancing ourselves from wrongdoing. What moves do we need to make at the start of this near year?

Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer