Joseph Campbell (z”l), the professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College, popularized the idea of the hero’s journey in his book “The Hero With A Thousand Faces.” In it he posited a universal human story of growth and transformation from human being to hero through overcoming a series of seemingly impossible challenges. He argued that the hero’s journey always began with a call.
In this week’s Torah portion, Abraham, the first hero of the Jewish people, receives his call, “God said to Abram, ‘Go forth (lech-lecha) from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.’” Abraham is called by God to leave everything he knows behind and journey to a new place, based simply on faith.
Commenting on this verse Rashi wrote, “Lech-lecha literally means, go for yourself, for your own benefit, for your own good” From this command and Abraham’s answer to the call, all Jewish history begins. God calls Abraham out of his complacency, and his life, and world history, is changed forever. As our portion continues, “I will make of you a great nation, And I will bless you; I will make your name great, And you shall be a blessing.”
I believe that each of us are called at different times in our lives. Whether we answer the call or not decides whether we will be a blessing to others or not. Have you been called? Have you answered the call? What is holding you back?