Who are you? Have you ever considered what is your true essence? When someone calls your name, what are they referring to? Do they mean your good looks, your designer clothes or maybe a prestigious job or position?
Rebbe Nachman teaches, “Man’s principal essence – that which man calls ‘I’ – is the soul. She is the essence that is eternal” (Likutey Moharan I, 22:5).
“God said to Abram, ‘Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house, to the Land that I will reveal to you’” (Genesis 12:1).
The words Lekh lekha literally mean “Go to yourself.” With these words, God taught Abraham how to become the spiritual father of our people. In order to grow and flourish spiritually, we need to take an inward-bound journey to discover ourselves. We start to grow by first discerning and understanding our own personal spiritual nature. What is my spiritual DNA? What are my strengths, and how do I personally connect to God?
Our souls are eternal; they are a portion of God above and are our actual reality. When we are able to tune into the portion that each of us was specifically given, and be attentive to her spiritual needs, we can begin to grow and connect with our real selves.
What stops us? What is the source of our distraction and disconnect?
The verse states, “Go…from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father’s house.”
We live on a secular planet. For one, our society promotes all kinds of shallow pleasures and desires. Besides these, society fosters false beliefs and attitudes, redefining such things as true success and the need for personal honor and glorification. In order to truly find ourselves, we must divest ourselves of attitudes that are not sourced in the Torah and that cause us to become distanced and unconnected with our true selves.
Our upbringing, too, exerts a tremendous influence on who we are. From cradle to grave, our families affect our outlook and goals. Reb Noson explains that inasmuch as our evil desires are one of our greatest obstacles, the influence of other people is the greatest danger we face.
The Torah is teaching us that, ultimately, only we can discover our true spiritual path. And only once we realize this can we begin our spiritual journey.
Rebbe Nachman adds that we can find help and support in our quest by taking the time to talk to God every single day. Hitbodedut offers us a wonderful opportunity to evaluate where we’re going, how far we’ve come, and the best ways to find our true spiritual selves.
The verse concludes, “to the Land that I will reveal to you.” If we will be stubborn and resilient in our search for truth, God will certainly lead us to the Promised Land. Amen.
Based on Likutey Halakchot Pesach 9, and Hilkhot Geneivah 8:7-8)