Secondary Source: Different Meanings of Lech L’cha – MS

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Secondary Source: Different Meanings of Lech L’cha

RashiGo forth: Heb לך לך, literally go to you, for your benefit and for your good, and there I will make you into a great nation. If you stay here I won’t give you children. Moreover. If you go, I will make your character known in the world.
Rosh Hashanah 16b, Tan.

Rashi (רש”י is shorthand for RAbbi SHlomo Itzhaki). Rashi was a medieval French rabbi who wrote many commentaries on the Talmud and on the Tanakh. His writings are still widely read and thought about today.

Picture: By Guillaume de Paris, Public Domain,




Avivah Zornberg: was born in London and grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where her father was a Rabbi.  She studied with him from childhood; he was her most important teacher of Torah. For the past thirty years, she has taught Torah in Jerusalem.

Avivah“Lech L’cha” – start travelling – this is a travel narrative. Not to go to a particular place to do business, but as an open-ended travel. To discover   something about the place you are in – like in Gulliver’s Travels or the Odyssey – it seems the journey itself offers you something you wouldn’t get by staying home… You can never know how it will change you, but the journey itself changes you.
Matan lecture:



Joel Lynn: was a journalist for a New Jersey newspaper. He now lives and teaches in Israel.

JoelA look at the Hebrew in this sentence reveals something.

  • The word “Lekh” is the command form of the word, “L’lekhet“–“to go.”
  • The next word, “l’kha,” tells us that the previous word is directed to a second person (for example, “Ten l’kha” would mean “give to you“).

“… Commentators offer various meanings of this extra word, translating the sentence as “Go for yourself,” “Go by yourself” or “Go to yourself… [My] favorite of the three is “Go to yourself.”

While Abraham had many difficult tests to overcome in his lifetime, the most important one is the first one we read about in the Torah: “Go to yourself.” Realize what your mission in life is. Recognize your potential. Become YOU. Without this, there would never have been a covenant, a circumcision, a binding of Isaac, or a founding of the Jewish people.



Rabbi Naftali Citron: Rabbi Citron is now serving as Rabbi of the Carlebach Shul in New York.

NaftaliThis week’s Torah reading, Lech Lecha, is especially significant because it represents the first Divine encounter of our forefather Abraham. The words “Lech Lecha” are often translated as “Go forth!” but these words may also mean that Abraham is supposed to “travel more deeply into himself.” As we begin our spiritual inner journeys modeling those of Abraham and Sarah, it is important to experience the depth of our own souls as we go forth to face the world. The word that is often associated with such intention and devotion in Judaism is kavanah.


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