keeping-it-togetherThe simple definition of the word journey is the act of travelling from one place to another, but I believe the word conveys a lot more than driving to the grocery store.  A journey implies a process in which you are changed or in which you learn something.

If going to the grocery store has become a journey, someone threw up in the car…

God sends Abraham on a journey in this week’s parashat Lekh Lekha.

The Lord said to Abraham: Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

We know this is more than a simple moving from point A to point B because God tells Abraham to “go for yourself.”  Rashi explains that “for yourself” tells us the journey was both for his pleasure and for his benefit.

He had something personal to gain from travelling to a new place.

The verse is also very particular about what Abraham is leaving behind – his land, his birthplace, his father’s house – everything which is known to him and familiar.

For real change to occur, we need to move away from that which is comfortable and routine.

This week, The Shabbat Project – Keeping it Together asks the global community to try something different, to make a point of celebrating Shabbat, knowing that Jews all over the world are doing the same thing.

At Akiva School, we’ve asked families to host each other for Friday night dinner, to invite people you may not usually invite, to make new friends, and to learn and experience the practices and traditions of others.

Shabbat itself has the potential to be its own journey – a journey between one work week to the next.

A journey of rest.  A journey of friendship and kindness.  A journey of spiritual connectedness with our heritage and our religion.

But to experience the transformation, you need to move away from what you usually do, what you think you like and what is comfortable, and maybe even the people you already know.

You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable to the unknown variables of a journey.

I hope everyone this Shabbat recognizes a moment where this experience is a journey for themselves – for their pleasure and for their benefit.

Shabbat Shalom.