Parshat Lech-Lecha: Genesis 12:1-17:27; Isaiah 40:27-41:16.

By Jeff Lasday

Now God said to Avram: ‘Go out from your country, from your family and from your father’s house, and go to a land that I will show you.’” Genesis 12:1 Avram. Go! Lech!

One word, two letters is all that it takes to get your journey started.

For some, it may seem sudden that at such an advanced age you are willing to leave your comfortable surroundings, your friends and family to set forth in such a radical new direction. However, others, those who have read between the lines, understand that this decision has been some time in the making. This action is really a culmination of much thought and quiet acts of rebellion against the status quo.

You never were one to sit idol-ly by. You have always been able to see what others could not and hear that small still voice inside you that was inaudible to others.

This gift is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing to feel so confident in your unique world perspective that you have the courage to express counter-culture beliefs, even though your understanding of the world is different from anyone else’s around you.

It also feels like a curse at times to be unable to be like everyone else and just go with the flow. You are an innovator who is generations ahead of his time, literally shouting into the wilderness. Yet, over time, it will be your world view that prevails.

For a leader, you are an interesting mix of contradictions. On one hand, you have never been much of a rule follower or a listener to those in authority. You are much more of an iconoclastic stone-throwing innovator who is willing to question everything. Just because this is how it has always been done isn’t good enough for you. You are willing to continually push accepted norms of behavior and societal assumptions until you reach an answer that resonates with your understanding of the world. On the other hand, as you chase this new idea, you are willing at times to suspend your questioning and put rigorous curiosity aside to acquiesce to the demands of this inner voice.

You do this even if it means moving away from home. Will you do this even if it means sacrificing your own children and family while, on the other hand, challenging authority in the pursuit of justice for total strangers? This work-family life balance is really something that you are going to need to watch out for.

You are now told to go but are not yet provided with directions or a destination. You are being asked to walkest by the ways before there is yet even a Waze to guide you. Your only direction is to go to a land yet to be shown. And yet you are determined to go.

So, what are you waiting for? Go already! Go and fulfill your destiny! Go and be a blessing!

Jeffrey Lasday is the Chief Operating Officer of the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit.


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