Rabbi David Kalb, Director of Jewish Education for the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at 92nd Street Y, continues his series of guest blogs on the 92Y below, with another post on the weekly Torah portion.
Born To Run – The Journey: Lech Lecha
One of the greatest songwriters of all times is Bruce Springsteen. I still remember the first time I heard his classic song “Born To Run”. It hit me very powerfully with it’s theme of journey. That is how I feel when I hear the opening of this weeks Torah portion Lech Lecha.
Lech Lecha tells the story of the rather unusual birth of the Jewish nation. In Bereishit/Genesis 12:1, God commands Avram (Abram, who will eventually be known as Avraham/Abraham): “Go for yourself (Lech Lecha) from your land, from your relatives, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” We read no theology, see no miracles and receive no proof of God’s existence. God simply tells Avram to go on a journey. The command itself is also unusual: Lech Lecha, “Go for yourself.” The Torah could have simply used the single word Lech, “Go,” and identify where Avram was coming from and where he was headed. It is unnecessary to add the word Lecha, “for yourself.” The word Lecha seems superfluous and somewhat awkward. It is more logical to say, simply, “Go.” Why Lech Lecha? Perhaps because the Torah teaches us that Avram’s journey is a journey of self, not simply of geography. God does not just tell Avram to go on a physical journey, but commands Avram to go on a spiritual journey as well. When God says Lech Lecha, “Go for yourself,” God commands Avram to begin a journey to try to understand God.
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