Saturday, 28 October 2017

There is an Avraham in Every Jew

Lech Lecha לֶךְ-לְךָ is the name of this week’s Parasha (Torah portion) from Beresheet 12:1 – 17:27

Each year as we get to reading it, the Jew in me is, yet again, filled with awe witnessing the courage of Avraham, our forefather. To be able to pick up one’s past life, leave the comforts of one’s Home and follow the directives of a voice, a calling, be it external or internal and face the unknown, does indeed require much valour, resolution and bravery. Avraham certainly took the road “less traveled by” in the words of Robert Frost and that made “all the difference.”

And that move, that major step by Avraham, as we Jews believe, has changed the face and the essence of humanity forever.

At this point, I would endeavor to say that Avraham was not the first one to whom that “voice” spoke. I would say, however, that he was probably the first one that heard it, listened to it and followed its command.

Though not every Jew is a born Avraham, we all have some of him in us. We all possess the potential to make a difference, small or major, in our world. Such opportunities present themselves to us on our Life’s path almost daily. Unfortunately, many of us miss them, intentionally or otherwise. We miss them for several reasons.

First and foremost, some Jews have chosen to continue to live in their comfort zone and any effort to rattle it is rejected by them. 

Others, sadly enough, have simply elected to tune out of the dynamic world that surrounds them. They have decided to seal their ears and resuscitate the blinders over their eyes. The sounds of their inner silence have become their new idols, their panacea. “It is not my problem,” they keep telling themselves as they engage in their selfish dialogues in a futile effort to justify their choice.

I was one of those. Though the fighter in me never ceased her battles, I rarely responded to the calling, until over 8 years ago.

I was residing in the UK at that time, living a comfortable lifestyle, mingling with all the who’s and who’s through family connections and work. I was at last, I felt, enjoying the fruits of my labour from long and hard previous years.

Then, one bright day, it hit me. I paid heed to the voice that was calling me. I stopped and listened to it. It kept asking, “So what’s next? You have done for yourself and nicely so. Is that the legacy you want to leave in this world. Is that what your Jewishness is all about?”

There was only one alternative left for me: moving back to Eretz Yisrael and doing for our Jewish people and our future here. It was time to make that long dormant dream, buried deep inside of me, a reality. I followed that voice and, just like Avraham, I have been blessed, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The dictate of “Lech Lecha” is what being Jewish is all about. It is a directive that has run like a golden thread through the spiritual DNA of our Jewish generations. It is our duty as Jews to dare, to go against the stream and to venture. That has been not only our duty but our destiny as well. That is the key to our survival, Past, Present and Future.

My dear fellow Jews, we each have different voices calling us. We each hold different vocations, some are easier to achieve than others. Regardless of the magnitude and the significance of our calling, each carries a blessing.

So, let us give rise to the Avraham that is in us, harness our courage and wisdom and follow in the footsteps of the great first Hebrew. Let our ancient Spirit, prudence and invincibility guide us. Let it take us through the road “less traveled by.” Let us embark on our destined journey and leave our footprints not only on that road but also on the hearts and souls of many others for many years to come.

Shavua tov

Special thanks to Michal Dar-El.

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