Sunday, November 10, 2019

Parshas Lech Lecha: Go for YOURSELF. (November 9, 2019)

1) 馃挜OK here we go. 馃挜
2) We are in the Bible portion of “Lech Lexus,” in Genesis.
4) Technical information.

Today's Hebrew date: Cheshvan 11, 5780
English date: November 9, 2019

Primary Reading: Genesis 12:1 - 17:27
Supplemental Reading: Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16 
5) Why I do Bible study here and not in synagogue.

Someone saw me the other week, with Bible; I said: "I do Bible study online; want to know where to get this?"

Them: "But it's Sabbath you shouldn't be using the Internet, right?"

I said, "Better than driving to the mall."
5) Now. I know I say this many weeks. But Lech Lecha is actually my favorite portion of the Bible. 
6) The very first words of the portion are (Gen. 12:1):

"讜ַ讬ֹּ֤讗诪ֶ专 讬ְ讛ֹ讜ָ讛֙ 讗ֶ诇־讗ַ讘ְ专ָ֔诐 诇ֶ讱ְ־诇ְ讱ָ֛ 诪ֵֽ讗ַ专ְ爪ְ讱ָ֥ 讜ּ诪ִ诪ּֽ讜ֹ诇ַ讚ְ转ְּ讱ָ֖ 讜ּ诪ִ讘ֵּ֣讬转 讗ָ讘ִ֑讬讱ָ 讗ֶ诇־讛ָ讗ָ֖专ֶ抓 讗ֲ砖ֶׁ֥专 讗ַ专ְ讗ֶֽ讱ָּ" 
7) "And the Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.'" 
8) Look at the words in Hebrew for a minute.
You may not understand Hebrew, but you can see that they are hyphenated.


"Lech" - Go
"Lecha" - For Yourself 
9) Now, the grammar on that word "Lecha" is unusual.

Technically it means "For You"

You would use it to say "I did something FOR YOU"

Not to say "Do this thing FOR YOURSELF" 
10) This may seem like a tedious over-focus but the point of the words is important when you look at them in context.

God is telling "Avram" - he is not yet called "Avraham" or in English "Abraham" - to leave his home. 
11) Avram's father is a maker of idols.

Like, people would come to the store and buy the idols in order to worship them, so as to increase their good fortune.
12) Now, when I learned this Torah portion in yeshiva (religious school), they made it sound like the people of Avram's time were kind of stupid.

"Bowing down to idols," who does that?
13) But in fact, "worshiping idols" is another way of saying "practicing magick," and all the things you read about today - specifically rituals involving murdering babies - were standard practice and they worked to increase the power of the person performing the ritual. 
14) The problem with "magick," of course, is that you are actually invoking the devil when you use it.

Your rewards may seem real, but the punishment begins immediately and it is eternal.
15) If you have the time, I highly encourage you to read this transcript (it's not that long) of John Ramirez, a reformed satanist. It is a personal testimony that attests to the above information.

Ramirez by the way is Christian.

16) In any case, if you really think about it, the situation Avram faced when God called to him was actually very unusual, and if he had consulted contemporary people about it, what would they have said?
17) People really do have this reaction - even today.

"God spoke to me, and I totally overturned my life" - yeah, right. 
18) Just yesterday, I heard someone telling someone else about a woman who had gone to Harvard.
20) But one day, so to speak, God "called out" to her. 
23) The person relaying this story about the former Harvard lawyer, now religious teacher, was glowing when she finished telling it.

"Isn't that wonderful?" she said. "How inspiring!"
24) But the person hearing this story had a completely different reaction.

"That is insane." 
25) The person hearing this story said: "Do you even HEAR yourself?" 
26) And this is the dialogue, going back and forth.

One person is in awe of the spirituality here.

The second person is extremely skeptical of the radical personality and life shift.

I think we can relate to both sides of it. 
27) But the point of the Bible story, about AVRAM

(remember his name is not yet AVRAHAM, because he has not yet accepted God)

is that he listens to God. 
28) Now we can delve into the Bible portion more later, but the point is that when God calls out to Avram, He says:


You're not being called "FOR ME" - God is perfect and limitless and omnipotent and all-knowing, all-seeing, and everywhere.

It's for YOU. 
29) Notice also that God is not removing Avram from his home by force.

Then the grammatical construction would be "I did this FOR YOU."

As we usually hear with the word "Lecha."

"I did this FOR YOU."

Rather, you must LEAVE ("Lech") FOR YOU ("LECHA.") 
30) Even more deeply, the word "Lecha" actually means "TO you," not "FOR" you, although we use it to mean the latter.

So God is telling Avram, "Go to yourself."

Where was he before? 
31) And this is where I have to end it, for now, with another story, or maybe it's a parallel. 
33) God made the sun, and the sun is going down, and soon - if you are outside - you won't be able to see very much. 
34) There, in the darkness, it is scary.
37) At first you are completely petrified.
But then, if a lot of time goes by and the robbers take over, the world stays dark and God's love seems like a far-off memory, you might have to make a friend among the robbers.

(Pic: )
38) Your conscience tells you that this is wrong.
But you live with it.

And when you have children, then don't know anything else.
39) When God called Avram, that is why He said: "Lech lecha" - "Go to yourself" - because you are currently cut off from your real, essential, spiritual nature. 
40) I have to leave this here for now, because once again I am late for synagogue.

More to follow later, hopefully.

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. Public domain.