Parashat Lekh-Lekha opens with the words: “And God said to Abram, Lekh-Lekha (Go forth, Move on) from your homeland and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you”. Interpreters have contended with why it is written “from your home and from your birthplace and from your father’s house”, when the previous parasha has concluded with the words: “And Terah took Abram his son…and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan, and they came as far as Haran and settled there.” This means that at the time that God spoke to Abraham and said to him to go forth from his land, Abraham was no longer there but was already in Haran.
The Zohar explains that a powerful hidden secret lies within Abraham’s message to all of humankind, as it is further written “And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing, and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.” The Zohar explains that the words “go forth from your land” do not refer to Abraham leaving his homeland in the physical sense, but rather of the path of life that he has chosen.
Abraham discovers in this message the ability to rise above his mapped-out astrological chart, above his destiny, if he only learned to use the tools that the Creator shows him. “From your birthplace” – meaning from your inborn traits; and “from your father’s house” – the astrological house in your chart, from which you go forth and rise, as this is your intended purpose.
The Torah relates that when Abraham refuses to believe the promise that his seed will inherit the land (he started his journey as an astrologer and according to his chart he didn’t see that he would have a son): “And He took him outside, and He said, look now toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them, so will be your seed.” Then it is said of Abraham, “And he had faith”. The Zohar interprets the words “And He took him outside” as the first moment in time that we have the ability to understand and recognize that we are going around in circles in our life, and that we can get out of that cycle. The way to do this is “count the stars”; Sephor (count), from the word “Sephira” or boundary. In other words, the way to have power over the stars, or destiny, is to know how to set boundaries over them.
The Zohar explains that there are two main forces governing every person’s thinking – these forces are named “The Right Column” and “The Left Column”. The Left Column symbolizes The Desire to Receive, the need to receive only for oneself, and the Right Columnsymbolizes Hesed (loving – kindness), sharing, caring, giving and unconditional love. These two are in constant conflict with one another, and one always wins over the other. The secret is to know how to instill within us the energy of the central column, named by the Kabbalists “Din Rafeh” (lenient judgment), which involves the power of balance and merging of the right and left columns by means of “Din” (judgment or limitation). If it weren’t for this power we would be in misery and devastation, as were the people in Noah’s generation who had no bounds and brought the deluge upon themselves.
In order for the right and left columns to merge, and in order for one to hear the other we must put a boundary on each column – each desire, and limit it, since when we quiet them down, only then these sides of our personality can listen to each other. This is called “Tsimtsum Me’daat”, consciously limiting or contracting, with the awareness that listening to the other is our way of connecting to the Creator. Failing to do so, we are constantly going around in circles, suffering from the same old problems and re-experiencing the same patterns of suffering. If we want to “go forth” and get out of our destiny, to shake off our unwanted characteristics, rid ourselves of childhood traumas and old wounds, we can recreate ourselves by knowing how to set boundaries to our right and left columns and connect them to the center. Then can we start on a new path. This is the message and power given to us by Abraham the Patriarch, which pulsates within us to this day.