Parshat Lekh Lekha

FRIDAY, October 27th

This week we read of how God told Avraham, “Lekh lekha… Go from your native land and your father’s house to the place that I will show you.” The Torah doesn’t tell us why God chose Avraham. Last week, we were told God chose Noach because of his righteousness, but with Avraham, no context or reason is offered. The Sefas Emes (R’ Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, the Gerer Rebbe) writes that indeed, God didn’t single out Avraham. God had been calling out, “Lekh lekha” to each and every human being, but Avraham was the only one to hear the call and respond. Avraham’s virtue, then, by which he merited God’s blessing and prophecy, was simply his ability to hear and pay attention to God’s voice.

If we want to be servants of God, if we want to merit God’s blessing, we have to open our ears to hear His message, even if that message demands that we leave behind what is familiar and comfortable. I wonder how many of the other people to whom God has said, “Lekh lekha” really never heard God’s voice, or whether they heard it, but were too frightened or felt too trapped by the comfort and security of the familiar to act on what they heard.

I invite us each to ask ourselves, “Have I heard God’s voice lately? If I became aware of new and challenging moral and spiritual truths, did I tune in, pay attention and act on them? Or did I shy away and ignore them, because they were too frightening or demanded too much from me?”

May we have the presence to notice God’s voice when He calls out to us, and may we have the courage to listen and follow that voice, even when it frightens and challenges us.

Rabbi Garth Silberstein