Drash on Parashat Vayeira
Rabbi Adi Cohen
Temple Shalom Gold Coast, Queensland
A spiritual journey from faith to fanaticism
“Lech Lecha”, go forth.
The first time Abraham heard these inspiring words (Genesis 12), he left his family, his hometown and his homeland behind, setting forth on a spiritual journey. Following a new God, the One, the Unifier, the Creator. Abraham was feared and revered, growing strong in wealth and possessions. In this spiritual journey, God finds Abraham and Abraham finds God. A relationship is established to the point that Abraham challenges God’s decision to destroy S’dom and Amora and haggles with him over its future.
The second time Abraham heard these words are in our Parashah, Genesis 22:2 “Take your son, your favoured one, Isaac, whom you love, and Lech Lecha (go) to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you”. Once again Abraham sets forth on a spiritual journey only this time despite of his commitment and devotion, God is not with him. It is not God who is stopping him from sacrificing Isaac, it is an angel. Although the angel praises Abraham and showers blessings over him, God is absent.
I would like to suggest that in the first journey is a spiritual search with neither destination nor specific goals. Where is Abraham heading to? “To the place that I will show you”.
In the second journey Abraham is going to a specific place for a specific ritual. To offer his son to God.
Once Abraham crossed the thin line between faith and fanaticism, he lost his moral compass and lost his family.
Judaism is a religion of spiritual seekers, as Isaiah describe “Seek Adonai while God may be found, call on God while God is near”. (Isaiah 55:6). Our journey started with a search for identity and meaning without goals and without a destination. God’s covenant with Abraham was simple, have faith in your spiritual journey and “You Shall be a blessing”. What spiritual journey are we taking today to become a blessing for the future?
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. As we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
― C. JoyBell C.
May we find the strength to get lost,
to unravel our wings,
to set forth on a journey
to become a blessing.