Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Musings on Abraham's journey
In the Torah reading cycle, we are reading about Abraham. Last week's Torah portion is titled Lech L'cha. It is made up of two words that are (in Hebrew) homographs, words that are spelled the same but have different meanings (I read it on the internet, so it must be true).
Both words are spelled Lamed-final Kaf, and they are usually connected by a hyphen. Lech is the command form of Holech,/i> or the infinitive form LaLechet which means to walk around. This was God's command to Abraham to take a "walkabout" (as the Australians would say). L'cha means "to you" if you're talking to one man (feminine and plural forms are different).
This leads us to various possible deeper meanings. Does it mean "go for yourself" (for your own good or benefit)? Or does it mean "to you, I (God) command, 'goi'." Or maybe it's not Lech-L'cha at all. Maybe it's just Lech-Lech meaning "Go-Go." Oh I like that, but probably all those scholars are not wrong.
Read the context. God is telling Abraham to get up and go out of the land of his father into a land God will show him. Think about it. In those days (like today) wherever you go, you're squatting on someone else's land and very likely they're not going to be happy about it.
It was risky. Abraham had already traveled with his father and settled in Haran (a place that must have been previously deserted because they named it after Abraham's brother who died before his father). Even so, they were on their way to Canaan when they stopped on the way.
Then God spoke to Abraham (Gen 12:1) to get up and go for his own benefit (yes, both) to the place God would show him. In one way or another, God is speaking the same thing to us today. "Get out of your comfort zone and follow me." We all "signed up" for this when we said "Yes" to Yeshua. Enjoy the trip.
Shalom. R. Michael.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,