The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” — Genesis 12:1
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Lech Lecha, which means “go to yourself,” from Genesis 12:1–17:27.
The biblical story of Abraham and Sarah leaving behind everything they knew and following God to a land that they did not know is one that resonates with me. Making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) was one of the most difficult things that I have ever done. When my husband and I moved to Israel shortly after we were married, we left behind most of our family and friends, the American culture we grew up with and loved, and everything that was familiar and known.
Yet, my husband and I decided to make our home in Israel because we felt God calling us to live in the land where all Jews belong. Surprisingly, within a few days of our arrival, in spite of the different language, culture, and climate, I felt more at home and more myself than I ever had before.
In this week’s Torah portion, we read about God’s call to Abraham to go to Canaan. God said, “Go from your country…” However, in Hebrew, God’s words began “Lech lecha,” which literally means, “Go to yourself,” and then continues, “from your country…to the land I will show you.”
The Jewish sages explained that this nuance, only noticeable in the original Hebrew text, teaches a powerful lesson. Whenever we leave what is comfortable to us for the sake of following God, we don’t lose ourselves. Rather, when we trade what is familiar to us for coming closer to God, we find our true selves. We literally, “go to our self.”
The journey toward God often requires us to pull away from our comfort zones. You may be called to make changes in your life and to try things that you have never done before. But God says, trust Me; you aren’t losing yourself; you are returning to who you really are. You will find your true self.
The reality is that when we follow God, we find our true selves. When you hear God’s call, don’t hesitate. Go where God calls you. Go toward God. Go toward your soul. Go to your true self!
What has God laid on your heart to do? What is one first step that you can take toward your true self?