Take the First Step

Yael Eckstein  |  September 24, 2020

Yael greeting new olim stepping off of airplane, baby, Israeli flag

like an eagle that stirs up its nest
    and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
    and carries them aloft
. — Deuteronomy 32:11

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Ha’azinu, which means “listen,” from Deuteronomy 32:1–52.

This may surprise you, but I didn’t always plan to live in Israel. When my husband and I got married, we settled into a nice community in New Jersey where we hoped to raise our family.

However, just a few months into our marriage my husband and I came to the same realization. This was not where we belonged. After nearly two thousand years, it was once again possible for Jews to live and thrive in the Holy Land. God gave our generation a great gift — but it was up to us to accept it. We had to take the first step. We packed up our lives and moved to Israel where we have lived happily, and gratefully, ever since.

In Exodus 19:4, God described how He brought the Israelites out of Egypt as though He carried them on the wings of eagles. We read, “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings…” God miraculously carried the Israelites out of Egypt like an eagle protectively carries its young away from danger. And today, we are witnessing a modern-day miracle as God continues to carry His people back to Israel from all four corners of the earth.

However, in this week’s Torah reading from Deuteronomy 32:11, we read, “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.” In this verse, we learn that God spread out His wings so that the Israelites might climb aboard, but it was up to them to take that first step up so they could be carried aloft.

In the same way, God is ready to help us and carry us through whatever we need to do next in our lives, but we are the ones that have to get the ball rolling. We have to be willing to take the first step.

We serve a great God who helps us in all of our endeavors, but we need to step out in faith by taking action even as we place out trust in God. Faith is more than just believing. Faith is putting belief into action by making decisions, taking risks, and doing what God has laid in our hearts to do.

Your turn:

Is there something that God has laid on your heart to do? Take that first step today!