This is the week when Jewish history begins. The Sedra begins with the words
God said to Abraham, Go forth from your land, your birthplace and your father’s house to a land I will show you
In reality, Abram had already left his birthplace in Ur together with his father Terach, his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot and settled in Haran. Now he is instructed to move on to Canaan but he does not leave Lot behind.
Not patient enough to stay in Canaan due to a famine, Abram moves into Egypt where his deception of Pharaoh about Sarai is ended by the intervention of God sending plagues. The stay would be temporary. We should never forget the land.
Lot moves away but, once again, when he is held captive, Abram does not forget but comes to the rescue.
The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the souls, and the possessions take for yourself.
Abram refuses. It is not possessions that concern Abram but souls.
When Hagar is sent away with Ishmael an Angel is sent to reassure her and bring them back. They are not forgotten.
Despite the promise that Sarai will give him a child who will inherit, Abram still asks about Ishmael and receives the reassurance that he too will be looked after.
In a vision, God appears to Abram, and prophesies our being enslaved for four hundred years but we will not be forgotten. The Covenant is sealed with the injunction of Brit Milah
Decisions in our lives are rarely easy. We all “go forth” at times for many different reasons and we chart new paths. However, we must never forget those who are closest to us. It is their souls and not their possessions that should concern us.