Shabbat Greetings

Just a few weeks ago, we read the story of Adam, the first human. We also read that it was not good for him to be alone. Hmm, do you think that he might have needed someone else to do things for before he could find himself and his purpose? Or, maybe he needed a partner, he needed Eve, to let him know what’s he was really like…or, at least, what living with him was really like. Because I have no doubt that it wasn’t all peaches and cream.

Whatever the case may be, God sends them out from the garden where they will have to find themselves all over again.

And guess what they need to have in order for human kind to go on? That’s right, they have to have children. Wow, talk about getting to know your real self and what you are capable of. Talk about learning how long you can go deprived of sleep, how long you can take the loud crying, and, most important of all, how you find purpose in being there to raise, to teach, and to protect that child. Suddenly, there is another being that is the priority and that changes everything.

Then last week, we read about Noah. Noah already has children, and he is willing to show them, no matter how hard they may protest, that he is going to follow God’s instruction. He is secure enough in himself to let his neighbors scoff at him. Like Adam being sent away from Eden, Noah, is going to be sent on a journey as well. Only his will be on the high seas. During his time on that Ark he is going to have to continue being an example to his children, who, even as adults, are stuck in close quarters to their father Noah.

But, just as Adam and Eve aren’t quite sure how to live outside the Garden of Eden; Noah and his wife and children are not quite sure how to get things going again once they finally come to dry land. They need to find their purpose, they need to find a meaning to their lives and, they need to do so quickly.

This week (Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)), we find Avram being sent on a journey as well. His father has been teaching things that make little, if any sense to him. He has figured out one thing for sure, the idols that his father builds have no power of their own, but, they are used by others to hold power over the people. So Avram, also, has to go on a journey to find himself.

Can you imagine how lost each of these souls felt? Adam and Eve suddenly thrust out into a world that they do not know. Noah, his wife, and kids learning to navigate life on dry land again. And Avram, who leaves his father’s house and the world he grew up in….the only world that he has known.

Avram is going to have to find his path, he is going to have to find himself along the way, and, he is going to have to find a way to pass his values down to his children. In short, Avram is going to have to find meaning and purpose in his life. He is going to have to find, HIS way!

Mark Twain said that, “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why”. Figuring out what we are on this earth for is not so easy. Finding yourself can be difficult. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are lost. With that in mind, I’d like to share a true story. This took place back in 2012.

An Asian tourist was reported missing in Iceland. Everyone who joined the search party was given a description of the missing person……and, even though it was a pretty accurate description, the woman it was describing failed to recognize herself. Wow, failing to recognize ourselves. And yet, I wonder how many of us would really recognize someone else’s description of us. And, I’m not just talking about our physical description; I’m talking about a description of what type of person we are.

As we read in this week’s portion,”And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing….(12:2) A short time later we find that that blessing will be through his progeny who will protect God’s ways and will act with justice and righteousness.

Now I know that some of you, like me, might be thinking; ‘but I don’t have any children”. Well, I guess you misunderstood what I was trying to say… see, as was written by Ari Hart, “We are those children!

So what can we learn from the stories of our Ancestors, of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs? In the story about the little boy who wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. we find that the father makes some mistakes along the way and, that if he is not careful, his son will continue to pass those same mistakes down from one generation to the next. But, let me remind you that the Torah doesn’t show any of our ancestors, not even Moses, to be perfect. The Torah shares their mistakes and their learning process as well as sharing the wondrous things they did.

And, let me also remind you that, to find ourselves, we just might need to find a way to avoid the errors of our ancestors while continuing the love and the compassion. We still have time to find ourselves, our true selves. We still have time to pass on good things to our children…….but the clock is ticking and with each act, with each word we have to choose whether we are going to be a blessing to our children;

It’s not too late….May God Bless You on Your Journey to Self Discovery and as Debbie Freidman would remind you….then……

You shall be a blessing
and you shall be a blessing
and you shall be a blessing Lechi Lach