The Hebrew translation of this week’s Parashah Lech Lecha (Genesis 12-17) is literally "go for you."
Ten generations had passed since the death of Noah. The world had once again begun to worship all sorts of idols and held complete contempt for any monotheist view - everyone except for one man named Abraham. After significant and thorough thought and investigation, he was certain that there was only one God and began teaching this radically different belief to anyone who would listen. When God saw just how committed Abraham was to spreading this message, God appeared before him and said...
"Go for yourself from your land... to the land that I will show you.... So Abraham went as God had spoken to him…." (Genesis 12:1-4)
God told Abram to leave his native land and his father's house for a land that God would show him, promising to make of him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless those who blessed him, and curse those who cursed him.
When I think of this portion, I think of change, challenges, adventure, and leadership. Leadership? We learn from this week's Torah portion the value of being open-minded to question our values and even to be willing to make changes in our lifestyle if we discover a truer way to live. We learn this from the lives of our ancestors Abraham and Sarah who grew up in a world that worshipped idols. Nobody even knew that God existed. When Abraham discovered the truth, he bravely left the world of idolatry behind and set out to live and teach the world about God and show them a better way to live.
Today, we tend to shop in the same stores, watch the same TV shows, we dine at the same restaurants and eat the same types of foods. A reason for this is that human beings are creatures of habit and don't like to move away from things that are familiar and comfortable.
When we're making a difference in the world, we're acting consistent with how God created us. So if we move away from something comfortable toward something unfamiliar - but the unfamiliar will better the world - then almost all stress is left behind. The reason the stresses of the unknown are no longer present is that the unknown is now known - your higher purpose is awaiting you.
WRJ offers a variety of opportunities to make a difference with successful strategies for success, through creative ideas in the Yammer Programming, Leadership, Judaica Shop, Governance, Membership, and Marketing and Communications groups. Like Abraham and Sarah, WRJ gives us the ability to build community wherever we are through social media on Facebook, Twitter, or Yammer, and through these different channels to make a difference to women worldwide.
I am proud to say that WRJ is a leader in social justice and advocacy throughout the world. Within the WRJ website, there are statements supporting the LGBTQ community, equal pay in the workplace, gender equality, civil rights, environment, Israel and, global affairs.
All journeys include two steps: from and toward. For a journey to be complete, both are necessary. Abraham knew what he was leaving behind but it would only be in the course of his journey that he would discover what he was going toward. He came to realize that the joy is in the journey.
WRJ allows each and every woman to go beyond one’s level of comfort and lead. It allows us all, as women, to find the joy in the journey. We all are on a journey together, change is not something to fear but we should be running towards it, you never know what you’ll find on the other side.
Marilyn Morrison is past president of Temple B’nai Shalom Sisterhood, Fairfax Station, VA. She is a WRJ and Mid-Atlantic Board member, currently serving as District Marketing and Communication Vice President.