Rabbi – 2017 – A Lech Lecha Moment


Susan Elkodsi
After two years of going back and forth to Connecticut, New York State put cashless tolls on the “Frog’s Neck” and Whitestone bridges. Just in time for me to not need it, as David and I are now officially Malverne, NY residents, complete with NY license plates and driver’s licenses.

In my most recent blog post https://www.malvernejewishcenter.org/2017/10/23/ the-dharma-of-Abraham, I mentioned a book I had started reading called The Great Work of Your Life, by Stephen Cope. I noted that while the author is speaking about “dharma,” it fit perfectly with the Torah reading, Lech Lecha, where Abram is told by God to leave his home and set out for an unknown land that God would show him.

We all have “lech lecha” moments in our lives, perhaps even beginning with birth; we leave (or are taken) from the cozy womb and thrust into a new world where we have no idea of what awaits us, or how to navigate that world. Every so often we experience a “rite of passage,” kindergarten, bar or bat mitzvah, getting a driver’s license, graduation, marriage, children, losses, retirement and more. All of them take us from a comfortable place and push us into a potentially uncomfortable place. Like Abraham, we have to learn as we go. We make mistakes, and hopefully learn from them. We have successes, but mostly we muddle through.

It’s natural to want to stay in our comfort zones, to not push ourselves too hard physically, emotionally or spiritually. What might have happened had Abram and Sarai, whose names were later changed to Abraham and Sarah, hadn’t followed God’s command?

The word “dharma” can be translated in many ways; as a calling, our purpose in life, or the “right road.” My “right road” was the Hutchinson River Parkway, over the bridge to the SSP to Malverne. It wasn’t easy leaving the place I’d lived for most of my life, where David and I raised our children, made a home and threw our energies into the synagogue where we both grew up, but as God blessed Abraham and Sarah, we are blessed to be part of this Kehillat Chayim, this “Community of Life,” or “Living Community.”

May we all continue to be blessed as we live, pray, study and grow together

Rabbi Susan Elkodsi