November 7, 2019 / 9 Cheshvan, 5780 • Parshat Lech Lecha
Issue 587
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

G-d Said to Abram, go away from your land from your birthplace: go away from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.

Bereishit 12:1

Go: Literally, this command reads, lech lecha, "Go to you."

This instruction to Abram is also an instruction for every individual: "Go to you"--return and connect to the real you, to your essence and spiritual root.

Only a small part of the soul enters the body and enlivens it. The greater part of the soul, its root, remains above, transcending the limitations of the physical world and experiencing Divinity as clearly and naturally as we experience materiality. During our stay in this world, our challenge is to connect the earthly dimension of our soul (whose physical perception has blinded it to Divinity) with its transcendent root. "The more we connect with our root, the more we, too, will be able to see Divinity." Thus, the Torah tells us:

Go to yourself: return to your inner core, by going--

From your land: that is, by transcending your earthly desires,

From your birthplace: by overcoming your natural habits and inclinations, and

From your father's house: by transcending the intellectual limitations of your animating soul (since the intellect "fathers" ideas and, eventually, emotions as well).

"Leaving our birthplace" (overcoming our natural habits and inclinations) means first and foremost overcoming negative inclinations, such as anger and jealousy. But beyond this, we must also "overcome" our good inclinations, such as the desire to give charity; we must do good deeds because this is God's command and not only because our natural inclination to do good drives us to. Only then can we be sure that we are transcending our earthly selves and connecting with the higher dimension of our soul.

From Kehot's Chumash

Synagogue Edition