Finding the Courage to Begin

Lekh-L'kha: A resource for families.

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Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today.

New beginnings are hard: a new school, a new job, the start of parenthood. Before one goes out on a journey, the journey is mysterious. We don’t know what to expect. It can be frightening to leave the familiar and go forward into the unknown.

Abraham, in our Torah portion, is told to leave everything he knows--his family, his birthplace and his home--and go “to a place he does not know”. Abraham had the courage to just go. There are no reports of angst or handwringing. It is instructive for us to think about what enabled Abraham to go forward and from where he got his courage. 
courageous child 
Abraham understood the limitations of the old and the possibilities of the new. Rather than focus on the frightening and unknown, he was able to imagine the possibilities of a new situation. The positive power of his imagination gave him courage. Likewise, a child can imagine all the new friends he or she will make at a new school. An adult can envision the interesting challenges he or she will encounter at a new place of work. While what’s new can be frightening, it can also be invigorating.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about how Abraham had the courage to leave his home to start a new life in a strange place.
 
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
· Has something new in your life been scary for you?
· What helps you to have courage?
· Can we see past the frightening unknown to imagine the possibilities of a new situation?

© Copyright 2010 Joyce and Fred Claar

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Dianne Cohler-Esses is the first Syrian Jewish woman to be ordained as a rabbi. She was ordained in 1995 at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is currently a freelance educator and writer, teaching and writing about a wide range of Jewish subjects. She lives in New York City with her journalist husband and their three children.