In the first passage of this week’s torah portion, God commands Abraham in the following way: “Lech Lecha [Go Forth].” God tells Abraham to leave his family, his home and all that he knows and faithfully follow God to an unknown land of promise. With faith and a vision for the future, Abraham takes a leap and follows a path that is beyond anything he could have imagined.
As we woke up this morning, this call to Abraham, “Go Forth,” has added meaning. Today we see that we live in a nation divided, and we need to face the fact that “forging ahead” means something different depending on each of our political beliefs. For those who have placed their faith in the vision of President Elect, Donald Trump, the path forward is a new direction, and in the spirit of our Torah portion, this new direction includes a promise for tomorrow that is filled with hope and prosperity. For others, this very same promise is filled with unprecedented uncertainty and paralyzing fear. Such is the state of our nation, and it will be up to our new President Elect to help bridge these emotional gaps and help us Go Forth together.
As children of Abraham, we need to heed the call of this week’s Torah portion. We must Go Forth with a sense of faith. Certainly, our nation stands as a testament to the fact that new paths can be forged by new ideas and political strategies. We, like Abraham, need to move forward with a sense of faith. We need to have faith in our democratic system and faith in the idea that our future does, indeed, hold promise for our land and our people.
Yet, as we Go Forth, we cannot be blind to the fact that the campaign of our President Elect stirred a significant amount of hate mongering throughout the nation. As Jews, this must not be dismissed nor ignored. We know, all too well, the horrors that can unfold when voices of hatred are unleashed within a disgruntled society. Schooled in a heritage of oppression, we must ready ourselves to stand up and against the hateful rhetoric of this election season. It is our moral responsibility to stand together with people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds and defend the freedoms and liberties of all who may be threatened.
After the most contentious and slander-filled election season in modern history, the collective mindset of our nation is filled with suspicion and mistrust. We must find a way to Go Forth together. We need to find a way to be like Abraham, whose steps into an uncertain future were paired with an uncompromising sense of faith. Our steps may not all be in the same direction, but with respect, sensitivity and faith, our nation can begin to move itself beyond the noise of the election season toward a clear and hopeful vision of tomorrow for everyone.