Lech L’cha

When have you embarked on a experience that led you not only towards a destination or goal but to a  discovery about yourself as well?

In this week’s Torah portion we read the iconic words that God says to Abram (not yet Abraham) Lech L’cha – go forth (Genesis 12:1). Simple words that can speak to us on many levels at once.

One of the wise teen students I teach commented in Torah study a few weeks ago that while the Torah doesn’t change from year to year, reading to reading, we do.  As I sit down to study this week’s Torah portion, I find myself once again drawn to the idea of a going forth, journeying, but in a new way.  A few days ago, I finished performing in a musical where I acted, sang and danced with love and joy onstage. Each time I inhabit a character and devote love to her relationships and her life, I come to feel connected to her. Each time I say good bye to her, her nightly journey and to the relationships she cared about, I experience the sense of loss of those loves and relationships in some way as my own.

The rehearsal and performing period itself was a journey, but more than that it is a process of discovering what I can do, what parts of me find expression when given the lens of a new character.

Rabbinic commentaries teach us that the preposition added at the end of the command,  the “lecha” to yourself, that follows the verb “Lech,” go”  is there to add a figurative dimension to the journey. This isn’t only a journey of moving from one place to another, but a metaphorical and metaphysical journey as well. Abram’s journey is moving from a world that interacts with God in one way to a world that conceives of God and interacts with God in a whole different way. Even more so, it is a journey into himself, a journey of self discovery. Lech L’cha is the start of a journey that is as much an inward journey as it journeys outwards.

At this moment, while I look backwards to something that has passed, there is a sense of growth and of movement forward. Reflecting upon what lingers in the aftermath of the show, the new friends, the new accomplishments, I sense an expansion of myself.  Elements of who I am showed up and grew through the filter of the character, and those parts of myself are now more open and available for me to see and access. I not only journeyed through the process of putting together a show, but I went into myself, and discovered new depths for feeling joy, love and compassion.

What journey geographical, metaphorical, metaphysical have you had recently that gave you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, to discover you frontiers and to challenge yourself to expand just a little?

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