Lech L’cha! It is time to move on!
Thus opens this week’s Torah reading, as YHVH tells Avram to hit the road, leaving behind all that he knows. Well, he is leaving everything he is familiar with, which is not the same thing. For somehow Avram knows something about the divine and when he “hears” the voice he understands it, he recognizes it.
It is easy to look around us and think we see the real world. Those thoughts, feeling, hunches, voices in our heads? Not so real. But what if we have it all backwards and our internal life is the only real aspect of our world? Great questions. Seeking the answers has inspired not only the religions of the world but entire fields of academic and medical study: psychology, anthropology, philosophy, neurology, etc.
This reminds me of Yom Kippur, where engagement with the material world is limited and the internal world is magnified. It is strange, then, that the language we find in the Torah is “afflict the soul,” since it seems like the soul is the aspect of our being being heightened. The word for soul, nefesh, can mean many things, as is often true for Hebrew, which has far fewer words that English. The list in my lexicon reads: soul, person, self, life, desire, appetite, emotion, and passion.
I invite you to stop for a moment and transport yourself back those weeks ago, noticing what is recalled from that day. Ponder your usual perspectives about this high point of the High Holy Days. What was denied? What was magnified? What was heard, felt, understood? How can the impact of the day keep guiding your life this year, and onward?
To where do you need to Lech L’cha / move yourself forward??