A man wins the lottery comes home to give his wife the exciting news. ” I can’t believe it! I finally won! Hurry, pack your bags!”
The wife is overwhelmed. “Wh-where are we going?”
“I don’t care where you go,” he answers firmly. “Just pack your bags and LEAVE!”
In this week’s portion of Lech Lecha, God gives Abraham his first set of marching orders. In His first communication with man since the flood, God tells Avram to leave his land, his birthplace and his father’s house. The directive is specific yet cryptic. God clearly desires that Avram do more than “go” in order to become a great nation,
In fact, God’s command to Avram is His eternal command to every Jew who seeks closeness to Him: We must strive to leave the “land” of our earthly, physical desires, the “birthplace” of the habits and upbringing that shaped us (for better or worse), and the”father’s house” of our intellect that limits our connection to God to what we understand of Him.
This journey to Godliness is not meant to be a quick and easy trip. It is a lifelong, arduous trek, one that demands scrupulous self-examination and sincere effort, come what may. And what may comes a lot, often through events we would never have forseen nor chosen.
We all know the analogies about seeds needing to break down to grow, vessels that must crack in order for light to enter. Challenges are the proverbial forks in life’s road: Will we allow ourselves to be derailed or will we choose the Godly path, the road less traveled by?
Today’s GPS system is comparable to the way God guides us in reaching our desired destination in life–even if it is antithetical to the location He desires for us. (If God showed us the way, He would be denying us “free choice” inherent in creation.) But in true GPS style, God places “home” on every Jew’s spiritual screen; reminding us that no matter where we find ourselves, He is with us and we are never lost. With one simple but sincere acknowledgment that we want to return to Him, our destination is immediately recalculated, and nothing can stand in our way.