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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

10/26/2023 05:00:11 PM

Oct26

Rabbi Josh Whinston

In this week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, we encounter the beginning of our story. Up until now, the Torah has been telling a universal story, the story of all of humanity, with Lech Lecha we pivot to our particular story. As Abraham and Sarah take their place as the first matriarch and patriarch of our people, their future depends upon their progeny, children they do not yet have. God asking Abraham to step outside his tent to count the stars is just one of the indelible images of the Torah narrative we find ourselves in this week. God suggests to Abraham that his offspring will be like the uncountable stars he sees in the sky.

I’ve always focused on numbers when reading this piece of narrative. I’ve sat with the irony most of my life that we are a people few in number, that the number of stars in the sky is not an apt metaphor for us at all. Now, I realize I’ve been reading this section of Torah wrong my entire life. The quantity of stars isn’t what’s important, it is their quality of light that is.

I often wonder what historians 500 or 1000 years in the future will say about this time in human history. The world is certainly a mixed bag right now and I imagine we all feel the global tectonic shifts, slow as they are, happening all around us. Yes, darkness abounds in our world, but so does light. We are Abraham and Sarah’s spiritual progeny! Let us be the stars shining brightly for each other and the world. That is our call. That is what it means to be a Jew.

Sat, July 13 2024 7 Tammuz 5784