Parashat Lech Lecha (Go Out)

An old Rabbinic tradition tells of the Jewish community of Horodna. One winter’s night there was a heavy snowfall. The next morning the men of Horodna got up before dawn, put on their fur coats and hats and boots, and set out in the deep snow for the Shul. Whilst on their way, they heard what sounded like someone singing. In the dim pre-dawn light, they were surprised to see someone dancing in the knee high snow.

When they got close, they could see that someone was mumbling and actually dancing in the snow. He was bundled up in a warm coat but his teeth were chattering in the early morning chill. By this time the men were curious and moved closer to get a good look – they could here the man saying, “this is for the sake of a mitzvah” – only to find it was their Rabbi, Rab Nachum.

“What is the matter Reb Nachum”?

“It’s almost morning, soon the school children will be rushing off to learn Torah. They are not very strong. Their families can’t afford warm coats. Their shoes are worn and torn. I thought that I, who had a warm coat, could blaze the way for them. I am making a path through the snow for them.”

In a similar way, we can be likened to the school children and Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov, the Fathers of our Faith, can be likened to Reb Nachum who stomped out a path through the snow. We are able to find our way because our fathers have blazed the trail of faith ahead of us.

Galatians 3:6: Consider Avraham, “He believed G-d and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

One of the great paradoxes of our humanity is that we’re created with the need both to have security and to take risks. Most of us want to be financially secure, fully insured and otherwise prepared for the ups and downs of life. But another side of our humanity loves adventure, risk and hardship. Thankfully, both of these needs are met in HaShem. He is the same… “Yesterday, today and forever,” so our need for security can always be satisfied by trusting in His character and in His written Word.

Our need for uncertainty is also met in HaShem who, according to Yesha’yahu 43:19, is always doing new things. He continually calls us to live on the edge, to walk by faith and not by sight and to go beyond our places of comfort and security to carry out this will.

Avraham Avinu took the risk of believing and acting on HaShem’s promise without even a son to his name. In doing so, he demonstrated what man was meant to be… A G-d dependent being…

Rabbi Boaz