Hashem said to Avram: “Go for yourself (Lech Lecha) from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

There are some very basic questions that the classic Torah commentaries ask on the phraseology of this verse:

(1) The Torah tells Avraham, “Lech,” which means “Go,” but the destination specified is “Lecha,” which means “to yourself.”  In other words - it’s not clear where the person is supposed to go, as he is already there! 

(2) The order of the locations specified in the verse appears to be backwards with respect to the normal points of departure.  A person departing for a journey normally leaves his home, and then his place of birth, and then finally his country of origin. 

Instead, the verse says, “Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house” – precisely the opposite order.  Why? 

These types of questions are addressed by Alshich, HaKesav VeHaKabalah, Chasam Sofer, Nesivos Shalom and many other commentators. The general thrust of their answers is as follows: 

The journey contemplated here is inward in nature.  Yes, there’s a Lech (go), but it’s to yourself and inside yourself.  And the seemingly backwards order of the locations represents the ascending difficulty in unpeeling the layers of who and what we are. 

As we undertake the spiritual journey, we first remove those influences that probably had a lesser impact on forming our character, such as the influence of our host country. 

And as we grow closer to Hashem, we develop the courage to shed the noxious influences of our home town and even those negative tendencies we learned from our own family.  

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman is an internationally recognized Torah scholar, #1 best-selling author, matchmaker, entrepreneur, attorney and media personality. His energetic and empowering messages currently reach over 350,000 people per week via social media, NYC radio, and newspaper columns worldwide. His website is www.RabbiBregman.com and his email is RabbiBregmanOfficial@gmail.com.


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