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    Abraham’s journeys – Lech L’cha

    The patriarch Abraham is on the move throughout this week’s portion: Vayelech l’massa’av, “He went on his journeys” (Gen. 13:3).

    Rashi tells us a surprising thing, that he stayed in the same inns as on his previous journeys.

    People (myself included) often remember how much they enjoyed a particular hotel and when they find themselves in that town they always stay at the same place. That’s the practical side of the question.

    Ethically, some of the commentators say Abraham went back to his previous stopping places in order to pay his debts; on his earlier journeys he had been impoverished and needed assistance, but now he had become wealthy (kaved me’od: Gen. 12:2) and was able to pay back the help he had received.

    Philosophically, there is a deeper consideration. What should one do in life – go backwards or forwards, re-trace your life’s experiences or move into hitherto unknown territory?

    Nostalgia draws you back, but reality insists that the past is over and can never be re-created.

    I never know what the future will bring, what lies in wait around the next corner – but I am guided by the final sentence of Psalm 27 (L’David Ori), Kavveh el HaShem – “Hope in the Lord, be strong, steel your heart, and hope in the Lord!”

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