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Parashat Hashavua

Drash on Parashat Lech Lecha 2018

Rabbi Adi Cohen
Temple David, Perth, WA


Parashat Lech Lecha marks the end of the universal aspects of creation and the beginning of the Jewish particular narrative.

From an historical perspective challenges immediately emerge. At the end of last week’s Parasha we read that Avram’s father left Or-Kasdim with his family, on this week’s Parasha Avram hears his own calling “go forth”. Who started our journey?

The stories of our ancestors are dated to the 17th century BCE (pre-historical era) and were most likely recorded not earlier then the 10th century BCE. How then can this stories convey any historical facts, record dialogues or portrait the characters most intimate thoughts?

As we are living in a generation that defines reality by its social media public image, the question “what is the Torah?” must be addressed if we want the Torah to continue to be a meaningful and contemporary part of every generation Jewish identity. It is based on historical events and historical documents, however it is not a history book, it is a mixture of myths and historical truths, mixed together ,not amalgamated. The Torah our source of worship and prayers however it is not a liturgical Book. The Torah sets up a straight and undeviating line of conduct for our pursuit, however it in not merely an Halachic Book.

So what is the Torah? All of the above and much more.

It is our story. It is our cultural and religious language.

As I see it the Torah is the foundation stone for our shared Jewish past, present and future. It holds values and convictions that we share with other Jews wherever they may be. It holds the struggles, the tears of pain and gratitude, the longing of the heart and the spiritual awareness of our past generations, it is a sacred book about defining moments in our ancestors life that we can relate to.

May this week’s Parasha touch the right spot and awaken in us that Divine spark we all have in us and enable us to hear once more ‑ or perhaps for the very first time ‑ that “still small voice” (1 Kings, xix, 12) which for most of us unfortunately is so very silent, so very frequently silent - “go forth”, Lech Lecha, it is time to reclaim what is already yours and to start our own spiritual journey wherever it may take us.

Shabbat Shalom.

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