Parashat Lech L’cha • Genesis 12:1−17:27

“Once or twice in a lifetime, a man or woman may choose a radical leaving, having heard, ‘Lech L’cha – Go forth.'” These words open our prayer book’s contemporary interpretation of the Ahavah Rabbah prayer, found in our Saturday morning service. These words, Lech L’cha echo the name of this week’s Torah Portion in which Abram & Sarai set out on a journey that would forever change the world.

These words are often translated as above, “go forth,” but when we look more carefully at the Hebrew, we see additional layers of meaning: Lech – Go, L’cha – to yourself. In this story, Abram is not merely sent away from his birthplace, he is sent out to discover himself, to go towards himself. We read these words every fall, not long after welcoming the New Year. We are reminded by this parsha that our journey is simultaneously outward – where and how we move through the world – while also being inward – who do we become along the way?

Rabbi Callie B. Schulman

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