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Friday, October 30, 2009

Parshat Lekh L'kha ....The Journey Within

This week's parashah/portion is Lekh L'kha (Bereshit/Genesis 12:1-17:27). In
this parashah, God speaks to Abram, saying to him "Lekh L'kha ... go forth
(also translated/interpreted as 'go for yourself' or 'go [in] to yourself') from
your land, the place of your birth, from your father's house to the land that I
will show you." Thus begins the journey of Abram and Sarai, later Abraham and
Sarah, to the land of promise, which is unknown to them and which God will show
them.

As they begin their journey Abram performs a sacrifice at dusk, as
commanded by God, as he lay out the pieces of the animals to be
sacrificed we read, "And behold, a great, dark horror fell upon Abram
when the sun was going down. God said, 'Know for sure that your
offspring will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and they will serve
them and be afflicted for 400 years. But I will judge that nation that they
will serve. Afterward they [Abram and Sarai's descendants] will come out with
great wealth. But you will go to your ancestors in
peace; you will be buried in a good old age (Gen. 15:10-15)."

I could not help what imagine what this journey to the self, this
journey to a strange domain that he was to be shown by God, might
entail. It is not surprising that a great dread would fall upon Abram when the
sun was setting, and one can only imagine how his dread might have multiplied
when told that his ancestors would be enslaved for 400 years, even though he
would die a good death at a ripe old age.

If Lekh L'kha can be interpreted as "go into yourself" one can read these
passages, and the entire parashah - if not the entire narrative - as a journey
into the self of Abram. That is what I would like to imagine at this moment.


The Journey Within



Journey
Where
Inside
Who
Yourself
What

God has spoken
I must begin
I must go
Inside
To a place
Unknown
A place
I trust
God
Will show me

Inside
My self
No self
I see
Nothing
Darkness
I feel
Something
Dread
I sacrifice
Past
Family
Certainty
Comfort
To
For
God

I should be
Happy
Content
Enlightened

I am
Afraid
Uncertain
In the dark

I hear
God's voice
Again
Or is it mine
It does not matter

Go deep
Inside
Where you fear
To go
See
In yourself
What you fear
To see

Know
There will be
Struggle
You will
Descend
Into enslavement
Of the self

You will know
Darkness
Fear
Anger
Sorrow
Oppression
Disappointment
Horror

You will
Know
These
For they are
Part of you
Of me
Of life

I stop
I want
To return
Go home
To
Where I was
Who I was
What I was

I cannot
For it is
No more


Why
Move ahead
Go Deeper
Inside

Why
Face
The fear
Within

Why
Begin
The journey
Into
The darkness

Because
Says God
It all leads
To the end
To me

You must
Descend
In order to ascend
You must
Know fear
To learn fearlessness
Feel darkness
To see light
Experience oppression
To know freedom
Envelope yourself in nothingness
To arise
To experience
To know
The all of the Divine

You must know life
In order to die
You must know death
In order to live

Begin
Continue
Begin again
Continue once more
Return
Begin again
Your journey
Down
Deep within
To the darkness
So you
Can arise
To the light
Of Life
To Me

Only then
When you reach
The end
Which is not
The end
Can you say
This is good
For you have known
Good and bad
Joy and sorrow
You know the difference
You are not in Eden
Not in the womb
Not in your parents house
Not where you were

You are
Where you are
You are
Living as you must live
So that you will know
Life
And
Death
The All of Being
Eternity
Divinity
Humanity

That is
The journey
You
I
Each of us
Must
Begin

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