Lech Lecha – What’s your Mission?
Parshat Lech Lecha is all about a mission – from God. God sends Avram on a special journey, for which he is to leave everything he has ever known and go “to the land which I will show you.” But why Avram? What kind of person would be suitable for God’s mission?
God famously begins speaking to Avram as if out of nowhere. God just cuts right to the chase, with no introduction, sending Avram on a task that will change his life. God says “Leave your home, your birthplace, your family, and everything you know and go where I will show you. If you do, I will bless you and make you a great nation.” And what is Avram’s response? He agrees! And in fact, this is the start of the close relationship between Avram and God that continues with the Jewish people to this day.
But going back to our original question, why did God choose Avram for this mission? Was there something unique about Avram, or was it just random? Did Avram have special qualifications to be selected for this journey? If Avram was “applying” for this mission today, which of these qualifications, and experience, would be on his resume? Conversely, if God was advertising for the job today, what would that job posting look like? And finally, what lesson can we learn from this today?
Avram didn’t necessarily know that he had it in him to fulfill God’s mission, and in fact the midrash tells us that Avram was tested 10 times. Each test went further in helping Avram realize that he had the traits, skills, qualifications and experience to pass these life tests and show that he merited being the founder of the Jewish people. If we look at our lives, the challenges we’ve faced, what we’ve accomplished, and how we are spending our time, what do we think God’s job posting for us might be? What is on our resume, so to speak, that has uniquely prepared us for the challenges that God has given us in our lives?
We don’t all get God talking directly to us like Avram did, telling us what God expects of us and sending us on a holy mission. However, each of us does have our own special, unique mission in this world for which we have been created. Each of us is here for a reason. Parshat Lech Lecha prompts us, as we read about Avram’s mission, to think about what ours could be as well, and how we can rise to the occasion to make the world a better place.
Questions for the Shabbat Table:
- In order to be chosen for this sort of Lech Lecha mission, what sorts of characteristic traits, strengths, or experiences do you think would be needed?
- What do you think your “mission” might be, and what is your “resume” to fulfill it?