Allen C. Katz
Allen C. Katz

Leych Lecha: To Boldly Go

In this week’s Torah portion of Leych Lecha, God appears to Avram saying: “…Leych lecha–walk (for your own benefit, Rashi) from your land, from your place of upbringing, and from the house of your father to a land that I will show you”. Here is the activation of Avram’s historic destiny from his ordinary beginnings to a covenant with one God and a relationship with a land promised to him and his lineage.

We as his children might read this account as our own inherited opportunity for personal activation and transformation. Like Avram, we began in a place of upbringing whose ideals were outdated, Avram’s because people in that place worshiped idols. Ours, outdated by virtue of us having lived within a consumer society whose habits were self destructive in relation to the earth. Like Avram, we grew up in a house in our formative years. While Avram grew up around the worship of idols, our upbringing took place in a home not conducive to sustainable living. Like Avram, we are shown a land and we live in covenant. Avram was shown Eretz Yisrael, and came into covenant with the one God.

We, the children of Israel being in “all four corners of the earth” and with today’s technology, are shown our earth suffering under a changing climate. In the USA–Artzot Habrit in Hebrew, which I point out is literally “Lands of the Covenant” in English―we live in the world’s #2 nation of greenhouse gas production. And our covenant? It would not be surprising if one were to say that we were primarily in a covenant of idolatrous worship of money, possessions, and power. To arrive in his promised land, Avram journeyed far for himself and his progeny; “between Me and you and thy seed after thee”. For us today to arrive in a healthy covenant with God and land―like Avram in leych lecha–we would have to take steps for ourselves and for future generations. We would have to journey from the USA that we once knew, from the obsolete, naive ideologies of our upbringing to a global newly attuned covenant with the land. Indeed, from Artzot Habrit, to Brit Ha’arzot―a covenant of the earth.

About the Author
Raised in the north suburban Chicagoland area. Received a Jewish Day School education. Hold an MD from University of Illinois. Ongoing work on Jewish adult educational projects.
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