Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blessing a Child's Journey

This week’s Torah portion from Genesis 12:1 begins with God’s call to Abraham to “go forth from your land, your birthplace, your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.” Ever since I heard the Debbie Friedman/Savina Teubal song version  at a friend’s daughter’s bat mitzvah, I have treasured this free interpretation of the passage for its sense of possibility:

L'chi lach [Go forth], to a land that I will show you
Leich l'cha [Go forth], to a place you do not know
L'chi lach, on your journey I will bless you
And (you shall be a blessing)3x l'chi lach
L'chi lach, and I shall make your name great
Leich l'cha, and all shall praise your name
L'chi lach, to the place that I will show you
(L'sim-chat cha-yim [to the joy of lives])3x l'chi lach

Noah embarked on a lot of adventurous journeys in his life, from wilderness trips at age 13 to a year in France at age 17 to a challenging college far from home, and we cheered him on from the sidelines. He knew he had our blessing for finding his own way in his own time, though he blamed himself for not being focused on one definite direction like the high-powered high achievers he assumed were all around him. Maybe I was so intent on encouraging his exploration that I didn’t do enough to reassure him that he was a blessing for us and that he would always have safe harbor at home. How I wish he could have felt blessed on his journey instead of cursed. How I wish he could have lived long enough to connect with a sense of spirituality that I always felt he had inside him. 

How I wish that we were not on this grim journey of our own into unknown places after he put an end to his journey. Because it’s hard now to see his life as a blessing.

On your journey, Noah, we would have continued to bless you and delighted in all the new lands you surely would have found.

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