Parashat Lech Lecha: Going forward — not alone but together

By Rabbi Brigitte Rosenberg

How does a journey begin?  It begins with a moment – it could be a thought, a realization, an “aha” a phone call.  And the journey that lies ahead, whether good or bad, often leaves us with a certain amount of fear as we face the unknown.

In this week’s parashah, Lech Lecha, Avram receives a “call” from God to go on a journey.  He is told, Lech Lecha, go forth from all that you know to find yourself and the place that I will show you.  But what was running through his mind?  Was he prepared to leave? Was he scared? How did he decide to step forward into the unknown?  

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Anat Cohen at The Sheldon

How many of us, like Avram, have received a call and found ourselves on a journey that we weren’t prepared for and were scared to take?  In this month of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I can’t help but think of the many women that I know of in our community who received a call from their physicians and found themselves on a journey for which they most certainly were not prepared.  

The journey that they are on, regardless of the fact that others face a similar one, is one that I have heard is incredibly frightening and even lonely, as these women face what feels like the unknown.  Perhaps they ask the same questions that Avram might have asked, “How will my family feel?” “How will I find the strength and the courage to journey forward?”  “Where will my journey end?”  

Did Avram fear stepping forward into the unknown?  He must have, but something compelled him to move forward.  Perhaps it was the knowledge that he was not alone on his journey, that his wife was with him and God was with him.  

Fear can be debilitating; fear can keep us from journeying forward and from engaging in and enjoying life.  But, personal touch, communication and help from others can make a painful and scary journey just a little bit easier to travel.  

Many of us in the Jewish community already do a lot with regard to fighting Breast Cancer.  We support programs that create awareness, we participate in walks and fundraisers to help raise money for breast cancer research, but we must do more.  We must be willing to journey with the women in our community who are fighting breast cancer, so that they know they are not alone.  We must also do a better job of connecting those who are on the journey and those who have survived the journey; so that together they can share their stories, their challenges, their successes, and support one another.  This is our challenge and the journey that our Jewish community must take.

As we read the words of Lech Lecha, may each of us move forward in our own journeys throughout life and may we also reach out and share the journey of those facing breast cancer and illness, helping them to move forward toward a refuah shleimah, wholeness and healing.  Amen.