It’s About the Departure, Not the Journey

October 12, 2018 at 2:55 AM , , ,
“….And G-od said to Avram, “Go forth from your land and from your birthday place and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you…..” (Bereishit 12:1) 

״….ויאמר ה׳ אל אברם, לך לך מארצך וממולדתך ומבית אביך אל הארץ אשר אראך….״ – בראשית יב, א

The details about the place from where Avram will be leaving seem entirely superfluous. A journey to a new land automatically requires leaving your current (and previous) land, and obviously your home and place of birth! On the other hand, knowing the details about where he’d be relocating to would have helped him plan and prepare for the journey. Yet, Avram was “specifically” given no information whatsoever about his destination!

With this peculiar command, G-d mapped out the directions to the ultimate destination in a Jew’s Divine service. It is a journey of many steps, the goal being to escape the limitations of our personal feelings of identity, and instead to make the fulfillment of G-d’s will the defining feature of our lives.

“Go forth from your land”: Land represents nature, and this command means to abandon the preferences toward which you lean by your very nature.

“Your birthplace”: Your identity has been shaped and nurtured by the habits and practices of your environment. You must put aside the tendencies that you have acquired through the influence of your surroundings.

“Your father’s house”: Your character and behavior reflects your education, which is credit to the efforts of your parents, those responsible with your upbringing. In order to reach the Promised Land, your devotion to G-d must override the personal sophistication you have developed.

And for one who devotes himself unconditionally to G-d, surrendering any personal impulse, calculation, preference or bias whether emotional or intellectual, then the destination is entirely irrelevant. His readiness to fulfill whatever G-d wills is always the same, regardless of the particulars.

—Sefer Hasichos 5750, pp. 96-100

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