The Sedra we read this week, Lech Lecha, is the story of Abraham. It is full of events and great deeds. Some of the historical elements, such as the battle with the kings, are recorded in cuneiform tablets of the era. Lech Lecha has been translated and understood in many ways:
Journey for yourself.
Go with yourself
Go to yourself.
Go by yourself
There is a subtle difference between each translation.
Abraham will become the first of the “fathers” and will receive a covenant with God. What is missing is any real understanding of Abraham in his youth and his relationship with his own father and brothers.
As children we learnt the Midrash of Abraham destroying the idols of his father Terah and journeying to Canaan, the Promised Land but this is not the plain reading of the text.
At the end of Parasha Noach last week we read:
Terah lived seventy years, and he begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
And Haran died during the lifetime of Terah
And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter in law, the wife of Abram his son, and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan, and they came as far as Haran and settled there.
There is no mention of Terach worshipping idols. That is inferred from the famous quote in Shoftim, which we read in the Haggadah, where Joshua says:
Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the river from earliest time, Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor; and they served other gods.
The journey had already started, and Abraham completed the journey his father began.
We spend our childhood and our adolescence believing that we are charting a new path, our own way. As we get older, we realise that those same hopes and aspirations were in our parents and grandparents. It is always a regret that we did not find out from them about their own lives and ask questions. Ask before it is too late.