Over the previous two weeks, we have learned that G-d created the universe, and that He promises to never again destroy the Earth. But now we learn why.
In the current Torah portion we are introduced to Avram (later known as Avraham), and G-d begins to have a dialogue with him. Not in the relatively flashy way he appeared to Moses (in a burning bush) or to the prophet Ezekiel ( in a dazzling, flying chariot), but with a simple phrase. "Lech lecha m'artzecha....el ha'aretz asher arecha." "Go forth out of your native land, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. " Although the words "Lech Lecha" are often translated as "go forth", a truer translation would be "go to yourself". To find your true self, and "go there".
Our tradition tells us that Avram was seventy-five years old when he was given this command from G-d! Avram was essentially the only person In his generation to believe in G -d, and he had believed for many years. But it wasn't enough to simply believe; there had to be action. He had to be commanded to leave his comfort zone! To move! Both in a physical sense ( the journey from Avram's homeland to the land of Cannan) and in a spiritual sense.
The founder of Chabad Chasidic though, Rabbi Schneur Zalman in his classic work "Likkutei Amarim", explains that Avram was the Father of the entire Jewish people, not only in a genetic sense, but that all of the positive attributes that the Jewish people are known for, originated with him. And his journey of " Lech Lecha"- to "go" to your true self, mirrors the journey each of us makes very day. And just as by Avram, faith and belief wasn't enough, the same holds true of us.
To be Jewish is a wonderful privilege, but is also a responsibility. Each of us has to take our inner belief and trust in G-d, and actualize that belief In the physical world. It is very important to feel inwardly Jewish and to support Jewish causes. But fundamentally, Judaism is a religion of action. The many observances that set our people apart; the dietary laws, observing the Sabbath and Holidays, putting on Teffilin, lighting Shabbat candles, learning Torah... These are not "rituals" or "traditions". These are real, tangible ways to bring G-d down to our world.
This is the journey each off us must make. To turn to our true selves, to our G-dly soul, and to make choices that reflect that soul. Doing our part to make the world a little holier each day.