December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Lech Lecha 5776: Directions, Questionably

The commentaries are quite explicit about it. Told by God to leave his land, birthplace and his family homestead to go to “an undisclosed location,” the Almighty is precise in choice of words. “Lecha,” implies for Abraham’s ultimate benefit.

Yes, leaving home is hard. Moving far from your business contacts and colleagues has real financial risks. And moving to a new culture can be unsettling.

So Abraham and Sarah aren’t left to wonder. They are told it will be for their own good, and a Divine consigner puts their signature to the promise. Financial success, a future family and a land of their own are guaranteed.

We mere mortals can’t guarantee anything to anyone. But when government is asking to make major change, or advocates are pushing for a vastly new system or program, it’s not enough to think it will be right.

Of course at some point, as with Abraham, history judges. We need to make sure our great ideas mesh with the reality on the ground. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

Our policymakers need to make sure we, their constituents, understand the changes, and why they’re better (and if they’re better for some, and worse for others, why it is that this is the best route for society). Advocates need to have real stats, facts and data, or if that’s unavailable, at least a really great idea and premise as to what good comes from this new idea they support.

Words to consider. Ideas to ponder. Politics and the parsha.

In memory of a righteous woman, who was a modern-day Sarah, Rebbetzin Henny Machlis, zt”l. Surely Sarah herself has welcomed you above, and may you both be guardians of Israel in these tough times.

Howie Beigelman, formerly of Springfield, NJ, is Executive Director of Ohio Jewish Communities. He works at the intersection of Jewish communal service and nonprofit advocacy. Follow him on Twitter @howielb.

By Howie Beigelman

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