Shavua tov, everyone,
What a wonderful Kabbalat Shabbat we had this past Friday night, with guests newly arrived from Ottawa, Winnipeg/Victoria and then a contingent of young people and adults from a local Unitarian church – we were a full house!!
This week our service will be Saturday, Shabbat morning, where we will read from Lech Lecha, those beautiful words that ask us to look within ourselves even as we step into the journey of our lives as adults. We are called to leave our land, our birth relatives and our father (parents). This sequence of words calls our leave taking to go from the place we live into our families, our very core, and then step from that core into a place we do not (yet) know.
Truly, it is only in reflecting back that we can understand where those first steps of change forward will change us. I remember many years ago feeling flummoxed; I had just moved into a new house and I didn’t know where to begin when hanging my paintings. A friend from France gave me some very good advice that I have often listened to in all manner of circumstances. “Just hang the first one”, she advised, “everything else will follow.” Just take that first step.
Many of us are taking a first step into Torah, into re-learning what it means to be a Jew in Jewish community. Some of us are learning to read Hebrew, one letter at a time. Some of us are learning to fly! Lech Lecha teaches us we are never too old to take a first step into a place we do not know – but we do so because we have learned to live in trust, and to never fear failure. I recently read a book entitled Sin*A*Gogue. The author, David Bashevkin, speaks extensively about honouring what we might call rejection, failures in our life. Torah teaches us over and over that it is through our failures – our sins – we learn to grow.
And so, may this be a good week for all of us, a week of successes, and yes, even some failures. Lech Lecha.