This week’s parasha begins with God saying to Abraham: Lech lecha, Go to the land that I show you. But, the Biblical construction “lech lecha” which literally means “go for you” is interpreted by Rashi as signifying: “go for your benefit and for your good”. If you look at the story of Abraham’s travels, you realize that he was already heading with his family towards Canaan. But they stopped in Haran. Terach, Abraham’s father died there and God told Abraham: “continue with the journey- it will be for your benefit”. And Abraham went. And it was for his- and our-benefit.
I love to travel and I’ll refer to those travels I have taken and new ones to come on this blog. What I love most about traveling is the unexpected moment, the surprising experience, the unique individual I meet along the way.
I’ve been in all 50 states (if you count airports which I do as long as I’m off the plane and in the terminal) and while I won’t say I had such an experience in each state- getting out of the car and standing on the shoulder of the highway just over the Alabama border from Mississippi just before turning around and heading back was not a very memorable moment- in most of them, there was a moment that was unforgettable.
I reached my 50th state, North Dakota, the summer before last. I only spent 2 minutes there but the journey to get there was unforgettable. Our family was traveling in South Dakota and I convinced Avi to wake up at 4 a.m. and drive an hour and a half with me to the North Dakota border. He agreed and we drove in the pre-dawn darkness with the outline of hills in the background, with the noises of strange animals in the distance and with one or two lonely gas stations as the only signs of civilization. We got to the border. I got out and walked across, said the shehecheeyanu and got back in the car to drive back to the rest of the family.
It wasn’t much. But, it was an unforgettable moment- and what was best was sharing that time with Avi, telling stories, laughing, reminiscing about the many road trips we had taken in his first 17 years.
Every time I read lech lecha, I think about the journeys I’ve taken. The long ones and the short ones and all of them, especially the ones I’ve been able to share have been litovati- for my benefit and for my good.