How to leave our comfort zone - Lech Lecha

Thursday, 29 October, 2020 - 7:36 am

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Imagine that you want to drive somewhere that you have never been yet. You type in the address in the GPS and wait to hear instructions. But instead of telling you about your destination, it explains to you in detail where to leave from. “Go out of the second floor, from your home in Iraklitou St number 43, in the neighborhood of Psiri”. If this happened to the GPS, you would think the device went crazy. Yet you will be surprised to learn that this is exactly how G-d gives directions to Abraham in this week’s Parasha, Lech Lecha.

G-d speaks to Abraham and tells him in great detail where he needs to leave from: “from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house”, but He does not tell him where to go. G-d simply mentions “to the land that I will show you.” Why did G-d need to describe to Abraham where to leave from? Abraham knew it very well. Would it not be better if G-d told Abraham where to go?

G-d’s command to Abraham to leave his place is not only about the literal journey but also has a metaphorical meaning. G-d was explaining to Abraham that in order to advance, he needs to go beyond himself, to leave his comfort zone. This is expressed in the three details that were mentioned before, about the place Abraham needs to leave. The elements we need to leave in order to advance.

First, we need to leave behind our innate character, our natural tendencies (symbolized by the land). Some people are more rigorous; others are more lenient. Some are very emotional; others are impassive. For us to advance, we need to go beyond ourselves to do the right thing, even if it does not fit our character. Even if we are not used to doing this. We need to choose the right action, not the comfortable action.     

Second, we need to leave our birthplace, that is the influence of the culture in which we were brought up. Everyone is influenced by the society and the usages of his or her place. But whatever is widespread and accepted should not be part of our decisions. We should not be afraid to be different from others, as long as we know that what we do is right.

Finally, we need to leave our parent’s home. The home where we grew up in influences us a lot, but we cannot use it as an excuse. If we developed a bad habit at home, we can and should get rid of it. If our parents did not observe a Mitzvah, this does not mean we do not have the obligation to observe it. Even more, the good habits we learned from our home need to be adopted as our own. We should not do them only because our parents did it, but because we think they are important.

Let us go beyond ourselves, let us leave our comfort zone and not let our habits, our social or familial environment stop us. Let us think about something in our lives that we have blocked because of our character, our habits, or the fear of “what will others say”.

Let us decide to make a small step to overcome this challenge. It will not be easy, but it will certainly be very rewarding.

Shabbat Shalom,


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