D’var Torah for Friday, October 15, 2021

This week we will be reading from parashat Lech Lecha. This Torah portion is all about journeys. It starts with the most important journey in our tradition, the call from God to Avram commanding him to go, with his wife Sarai, their nephew Lot, and all the people with them, and travel from Ur to a land that God will show them. It was not just a leap of faith, but it also represents the first step into establishing a tradition that is now over four thousand years old.

When reflecting upon the notion of journeys; there is this idea that a journey means moving forward. However, upon further examination of this parasha, we are reminded that journeys can also go backwards, or sideways, or sometimes end even before they begin. That being said, most good journeys are rarely about the destination, or as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

Avram left this homeland, his birthplace, the land of his father on a conviction, a belief, and a promise that it would mean great things for him and his family. More than that, he went on the journey to discover more about himself and more about God. For in his wayward journey, Avram, with Sarai, his partner at his side, become the progenitors of the teachings of ethical monotheism.

This journey has never ended. Even today, we as Jews are commanded and compelled to embody the teachings of this ethical monotheism. The idea being that wherever we establish ourselves, justice and mercy should surely follow.

Avram and Sarai’s journeys established a civilization whose teachings and principles continue to have a profound impact upon the world. We are blessed because Avram and Sarai took this leap of faith into the great unknown. And so too, we must continue to make that leap so that way the world is reminded how it can and must do better in how it treats everyone. For holiness will dwell with us, when we make the whole world into a sanctuary that includes all created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. 

RTR is founded on the principles established with the journey that began with the two people who became Abraham and Sarah. Tonight we will be celebrating our lay leadership with their installation at our Shabbat evening service. We will also be acknowledging with much gratitude those who are stepping down for board positions. To be a volunteer lay leader is truly a commitment of the heart. The reward comes in seeing the congregation and community continue to thrive, which is a great reward indeed. With that in mind, please join us, if you are able, at our Erev Shabbat service as we celebrate those who continue to work to make each step of our own journeys as well as our congregation’s journeys be a blessing to all. 

Then, please join us as well at our Shabbat Morning service where four amazing women will be called to the Torah as B’not Mitzvah. A huge Mazel Tov to Jill, Jane, Mimi, and Irene. We are so proud!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Benjamin A. Sharff