Sedra of the week

This week’s sedra, Lech Lecha, is overviewed by Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt

The first request God makes of Abraham is: “Go to yourself.” In other words, look inside, not outside. 

That’s where human beings find what they are looking for. We all have a sense that life is some sort of journey. We are going somewhere – or trying to get somewhere. We are looking to achieve, to accomplish, to build, to create something that we will leave behind.

But how does that work?

Where is that destination? T

he Torah spells it out for us – the destination is us. The place we are looking to go to is ourselves. The message is that we are looking for satisfaction and that satisfaction will never come from anything on the outside.

It will never come from the house, the car, the pool.

Neither will it come from friends and family. And it will not come from success and the respect from others that success brings.

Ultimately, none of these things will bring the lasting satisfaction that we seek. Lasting satisfaction will come only from within.

When we ‘find’ ourselves. When we discover our true essence. When we awaken the Godly soul that burns brightly in each and every one of us that is at our very core. That’s when we find the satisfaction that each of us craves.

So God says to Abraham, go on a journey – a journey to a foreign land; a journey to reach out to the world around you and make a difference; a journey to build a spiritual empire that will contribute to the world for millennia.

But as external as Abraham’s journey was to be, ultimately, God tells him, it is a journey to self. It is a journey to nurture the human spirit and allow it to flourish. When we go to ourselves we find what we are looking for.

It’s so much easier to look to the outside for our happiness, to say to ourselves: “If only I had a faster car. If only I had kids or, if I already do, if only they behaved better or made me worry less. If only I got the promotion or people respected me more… We can have it all.”

But if we haven’t touched the essence of who we are, if we haven’t “gone to ourselves”, as God told Abraham to do, the message is that there will always be a sense of disappointment.

Clearly, Mick Jagger didn’t understand this when he wrote his song, or he would certainly have found the satisfaction he couldn’t get.

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