• Rabbi Chaim Richman

Lech Lecha: Going Against the Stream

In parashat Lech Lecha, we meet up with two figures: the patriarch Avraham, and also Jacob’s wife, our matriarch Rachel…and during many years, this Torah reading falls out in the proximity of 11 MarCheshvan, the anniversary of Rachel’s passing. Through the Torah reading and the auspicious date, Abraham and Rachel intersect, and they share something in common: Both our forefather Abraham and our matriarch Rachel were raised in a way that contradicted the path of faith that they each ultimately chose (their fathers were both idolaters). They could have stayed put; they could have stayed with what they were born into, they could have stayed the way they were, the way that they would have been expected to stay. They could have been complacent, and they could have sought to find favor in the eyes of their social framework and their natural families. They could have opted for the easier, more accepted, politically correct position. However, they each blazed a new trail, for which they were willing to pay a price. It takes a lot of faith – and courage – to go out on your own. To take that step for Hashem, we have to go outside our comfort zone. It couldn’t have been easy for either Abraham or Rachel, to go against their families. But they knew there was something they were being denied…Hashem. Hashem Himself was calling them. They heard an inner voice, in their souls.

If a person is complacent, there is no motivation to advance. In our parasha, the first command that Abraham received from Hashem was ‘Go for yourself.’ Go, get out, move, advance, do not become complacent! This is the story of our lives: Hashem beckons to us to go against the stream; not to settle for less than what we believe and know to be true, and to make a stand for the truth of Hashem.

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