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Parents, children starting on the path

10/24/2018 01:07:58 PM

Oct24

Kim Bodemer

Thirty-five years ago last Shabbat, I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah by chanting from parashat Lech Lecha. To this day, Lech Lecha remains one of my favorite Torah portions. I remember thinking how brave our ancestor Abraham was for answering God’s call to leave his home and go to an unknown land for an unspecified purpose. I wondered as a child why he needed to leave his home and his family to fulfill God’s command. I recall reading the midrash of Abraham as a young boy smashing his father’s idols. This explanation highlights Abraham’s individual thinking and willingness to break away from his father.
I recently read a d’var Torah that challenged my thinking about the role of Abraham’s father in his journey. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks pointed out that at the end of the previous week’s parasha, we read that “Terach took his son Abraham, his grandson Lot…and his daughter-in-law Sarai… and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan, but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there.”
Going back to the text invited me to consider the possibility that Terach and Abraham started their journey together and that God’s call to Abraham could have been a plea to continue the journey sometime after his father died. As a parent, I like this version better. Parents can be partners with their children, helping them start on a path, encouraging them and allowing them to continue when they are ready to answer their own call to be who they are and who they are meant to be.

Kim Bodemer is the Temple Senior Director of Education and Youth Engagement.

Fri, February 22 2019 17 Adar I 5779