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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 10/27/17

Our patriarch, Abraham, was a risk taker. At the beginning of this week’s parasha, he and his wife, Sarai live in a city called Haran. For no apparent reason, he receives a command from God: “Go forth from your land, your birthplace, from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.”

As an act of faith, Abram obeys. He willingly leaves behind every familiar aspect of life – language, culture, and extended family – in order to set out to an unknown country called Canaan.

Abraham was willing to risk everything in order to follow God’s ways. Decades later, at the age of ninety-nine, he risked again when he circumcised himself as a sign of his covenant with God. Years later, he endangered his beloved son, Isaac, when he brought him to Mt Moriah.

Abraham is described in our tradition as a man of faith. Too often we think of faith as synonymous with certainty, suggesting that to have faith means you know exactly what you believe and how to behave. But if we examine Abraham more closely, we see that he was not settled in his ways. Instead, he was constantly in motion, upsetting the status quo in order to respond to a higher calling. By taking risks and by being willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience, Abraham set an example for all of us to follow of what it means to have faith.

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