Torah Portion for November 9, 2019 (11 Cheshvan 5780)
The Torah portion, or parasha, this week is Lech-Lecha and is found in Genesis 12:1-17:27. In this parsha, God calls Abram and tells him to leave his homeland and go to a land God will show him. There he will become a great nation and God will bless him. Abram, his wife Sarai, and his nephew Lot travel to Canaan. After a time in the land, Abram allows Lot to choose the best grazing land for his own herds and Lot settles near Sodom. However, war breaks out with the surrounding kings and Lot is captured. Abram assembles an army and goes into battle to rescue Lot and the other captives. Abram by this time is wealthy, but childless, and he questions God about the promise of being a great nation. God says that Abram will have offspring. Abram has a son, Ishmael, with Hagar, his wife’s servant, but Sarai is still childless. God confirms his relationship with Abram and Sarai by giving them new names: Abraham and Sarah. The situations Lot and Sarah experience conclude in next week’s parasha.
This parasha tells us a lot about the impact of our choices. Abraham has a lot of courage to go to a new land and start a new life. In the new land, we see that Abraham has strong connection with God instead of the idols of his homeland, and God does indeed bless him. He becomes wealthy and is respected by the other people and nations around him. He is known for hospitality and is a blessing to others. However, he is childless for many years and only has children much later in life. God’s promise does come, but the promise is not apparent until Abraham is older, and the culmination of that promise—the Jewish people—is not evident until generations later.
Often as we live our lives, we make decisions which we hope will come for good. Yet, we do not understand the impact of those decisions until we are much older. Sometimes we wonder if we are making a difference in the lives of people we have touched. We may feel ordinary, and that we have made little impact. However, if we wait long enough, we will one day realize that we have touched others in an important way and what have offered here on this earth to others has value. Likewise, we may not always feel God is there. But God will follow through, and we will never walk that path alone.