Lech-Lecha: Shaking Your Comfort Zone


Tamar Pelleg

Since then, a lot of water has flowed in the river of my life. Today, apart from my everyday writing in my “Morning  Diary”, I write regularly on topics related to the Hebrew Bible’s portion of the week, from a psycho-spiritual perspective and on topics  related to relationships that I post on  Facebook, blog, digital story collections and recently I am engaged in writing a  book and my  dream begins to come true.



   What happens to a person who embarks on a journey without a clear destination or defined purpose? Without taking hold of anything thatdefined him before, like his country, his parents’ house, his job, without his regular “business card”?

 It’s not an easy or happy situation, not to know where you’re going, without any certainty.  It is a movement that has a lot of restlessness and tension, but it is a restlessness that increases alertness –and which builds faith.

And this is what Abraham (Avram) is being asked to do.

 Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:. (Genesis 12: 1)

 What might Avram have felt at the beginning of his journey? What thoughts went through his mind? What questions arose in him?

  Midrash Rabbah compares Avram to a young woman who is asked to leave her father’s house to marry a man she does not know.  To move away from everything she had known so far: from her father’s house, from her relationship with the man who had been until now the most significant man in her  life –her father —  and to go to the unknown.  To live from now on with a “foreign/strange” man who will henceforth be her whole world.

  What goes through her mind? Can she even imagine her new life? How does she feel in those moments?

   I assume she feels stressed. And this tension is vital and important for all of us.  It helps us break open the familiar and the known (the outer layer) and sharpens how we listen to the inner world, to the inner voice; it amplifies  faith and enables new things to emerge from the cracks.

  One can deny this tension, build another layer of protection and remain “safe” in the familiar —  or one can welcome it as a stimulating process that develops the courage to listen inwardly.

And I will make you a great nation (Genesis 12: 2).

  Transformation can only take place from listening to our inner voice, and inner listening is usually directed by something that shakes your outer world.

  Something has to happen for Avram, who is compared in the Midrash Rabbah to a “bottle of perfume,” in order to open up and spread his scent around the world.

   And this shaking reminds me of a motif in R. Nachman’s deeds, “A Tale of A Master of Prayer,” when the windy storm  comes and shakes and destroys the order of the old world, and the Master of Prayer sets out on a journey to find the lost parts that went out of balance in order to build a better world.

  Twice in my life I have experienced “Lech-Lecha”. Unlike Avram, I had a clear destination and a plane ticket.

  The first time was when I left Israel for the United States, without knowing if and when I would return. And the second time was when I left the United States after settling there for some years, and returned to live in Israel.

 I left everything and departed —  I did not know exactly where the road would take me, what exactly awaits me, how will things turn out.    Although there were external circumstances that invited the journey, there was  no less an  inner voice that called me  to move, to shake, in the full sense of the word, to break free from restrictive patterns, to find new dreams, to leave my comfort zone, to examine myself in the face of new reality. To dive in  and meet myself again. And I had a sense that I was getting signs “from above” to get going.

   And each time I also got a little lost.

    I can attest myself that in a situation like this, my thoughts worked “overtime”, the spotlight was turned inwards, the thoughts focused more on what was happening in my inner world — what was happening to me? What were my desires? What was my reality? What were my dreams? What were my fantasies? Who am I anyway? Values ​​and relationships have been re-examined, including with myself.

  And while I was experiencing this, I had a special alertness, a bright vitality that was vibrating inside me, illuminating hidden corners that disappear from my eyes when I   was in the familiar environment and acting according to the familiar patterns and according to the familiar expectations. Something real and exciting opened up in me.

  I found comfort when I found out, while studying  the midrashim that  relates to the Lech Lecha parshah, that getting lost is part of the process, in order to find a more accurate place.  That the journey and getting lost really allow one to wander and search inside the soul.

  I was reminded that the journey is not only external but also internal. I realized that in fact I was still on my journey. Maybe one of my mistakes was that I thought I knew exactly what the path was and where I should go. Inspired by the portion of Lech Lecha  and the midrashim,   I received an important message that I must continue the journey — letting go of knowing and willing to be  surprised.

  “Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable, because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty”. [1]

[1] Brené Brown, Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

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