Shabbat Shalom with a Heart Healthy Dose of Torah – Lech L’cha

Lech l’cha – get up and go – journey. Given my last week-plus, to return from my journey to read a command to take off again is quite coincidental. After all, I have quipped that I need a vacation to get over everyone else’s vacation. Of course, we all know that Einstein said that coincidence is only God’s way of remaining anonymous.

Of what am I musing? I just returned from leading an incredible interfaith journey to Israel. With a group of 28, we toured Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sites. We saw a lot, learned a lot, ate a lot, and slept very little. By the end of the trip, I think everyone was tired – but in a “WOW” sort of way.

I came home to this week’s Torah portion – “Lech l’cha.” I don’t really believe that the text is telling me to go away again, so I have to think about what journey is calling out to me. If I must be honest, I would have to admit that my focus is pretty narrow right now.

Our journey taught us to see “holy” in each other’s traditions. Holiness is never about one of us; in fact, there can be no path to the holy that excludes or discriminates against another’s holy journey.

“Lech l’cha” is the command to continue the journey. The trip may be over, but its impact on our lives must never end. It can only have value if our behaviors back here at home evolve, better equipping us to share in each other’s lives in ways that build our dreams and instill within us hope.

As I read this week’s portion, I appreciate the affirmation of blessing. For those who do not feel blessed in each other’s presence, we have a lot of work to do. Please remember that one of Judaism’s central foci involves peace-building. Every morning we affirm this ethos in prayers to make peace where there is strife and to evolve even our most acerbic relationships into ones of mutual respect.

This weekend also brings us the conflation of two days that make these truths all the more critical. We will acknowledge our Veterans and remember Kristallnacht. The horror of the second puts an exclamation point on our need to work so that no new names ever have to be added to the ranks of those who served this nation in battle. The greatest blessing we can affirm is peace.

To this end, I attach the trip’s final three days of journals. What a blessing to have had so many trust me enough to go on this journey. What a blessing that I could see Israel a new through their eyes.

Let’s keep moving forward. Shabbat Shalom.