Finding the Courage to Begin

Lech-Lecha: A resource for families.

Commentary on Parashat Lech-Lecha, Genesis 12:1 - 17:27

New beginnings are hard: a new school, a new job, the start of parenthood. Before one goes out on a journey, the journey is mysterious. We don’t know what to expect. It can be frightening to leave the familiar and go forward into the unknown.

Abraham, in our Torah portion, is told to leave everything he knows–his family, his birthplace and his home–and go “to a place he does not know”. Abraham had the courage to just go. There are no reports of angst or handwringing. It is instructive for us to think about what enabled Abraham to go forward and from where he got his courage.

Abraham understood the limitations of the old and the possibilities of the new. Rather than focus on the frightening and unknown, he was able to imagine the possibilities of a new situation. The positive power of his imagination gave him courage. Likewise, a child can imagine all the new friends he or she will make at a new school. An adult can envision the interesting challenges he or she will encounter at a new place of work. While what’s new can be frightening, it can also be invigorating.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about how Abraham had the courage to leave his home to start a new life in a strange place.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
· Has something new in your life been scary for you?
· What helps you to have courage?
· Can we see past the frightening unknown to imagine the possibilities of a new situation?

© Copyright 2010 Joyce and Fred Claar

From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.

 

Discover More

Rebecca the Superheroine

Isaac's wife and Jacob's mother, the second matriarch survived a difficult pregnancy and engineered the future of the Jewish people.

The Traveler’s Prayer: What You Say Along the Way

In Judaism, it is the journey, not the destination, that matters.

A Modern State of Impurity

The Torah's discussion of the obscure condition called tzara'at tells us something profound about the human condition.

The Torah

Five books of story, law, and poetry divided into 54 weekly portions.

Kohelet: Torah for the 21st Century

The Book of Ecclesiastes may be the section of the Hebrew Bible most relevant to the way we experience the world today.

The Book of Eicha: Faith in a Whirlwind

At the core of Lamentations is an expression of faith in the human capacity to survive in a broken world.

Fourteen Things You Need to Know About King David

The mighty warrior and sweet singer slew Goliath, stole the throne, and conquered Jerusalem—and that’s just a start!

What Ruth Can Teach Us About Celebrating Shavuot

The Jewish people accepted the Torah in fear of God's overwhelming power. Ruth accepted it out of love and loyalty.