10/25/2012

Shabbat Lech Lecha

Candles October 26th at 5:40 pm
Havdala October 27th 6:43 pm

Avraham migrated from the Persian Gulf to the Land of Israel via Kurdistan. He passed through different cultures, regimes and climates. What he went through was very similar to the journeys many of our parents have made and the motives were similar too.

He left the country of his birth because his beliefs and values were different to those around him. He travelled in search of better economic opportunities and the right to live the way he wanted to. Yet even when he arrived at his destination he was surrounded by people who worshipped other gods and had very different values to his. Whereas he was able to withstand these influences and succeed while remaining faithful to his tradition, Lot, his nephew, failed. To use our modern terminology, he assimilated.

It was Avraham’s and Sarah’s determination to preserve their religious values that was the secret of their survival. There’s an old Jewish proverb that goes “change your location and you change your fortune.” That was true of Avraham. But in his case fortune did not mean forgetting his roots. Changing where we live gives us new opportunities. But if we are so influenced by our new society that we fail to hold on to our traditions, we lose our souls in pursuit of our bank balances.