This post is dedicated in memory of Shlomo ben Aryeh Zalman. May it be an aliyah for his neshama.
The previous two parashot we've read were really like the exposition to the stories we will now have unfolding. What we see now are characters who ultimately become the patriarchs and matriarchs of the entire Jewish nation. One would think they would be descendant of upright people who lead moral, and just lives. Part of that is true, but not in the way you would think. The first Jew, Avraham Avinu, is essentially a convert. Born to highly successful parents who make idols, he seems like the least likely candidate to give up his wealthy lifestyle to wander around trying to convince the world there is only one true G-d.
Once Avraham has connected with G-d, his first mission is not to go out and save the world from their destructive and pointless lifestyle - it is to 'lech lecha' go out. Literally, it is instruction for him to leave his family, friends, home and everything he knows in life to head out for something new, under the directive of G-d. You might wonder to yourself, how hard could it be - when G-d says 'jump' how could anyone answer anything other than 'how high'? But leaving what is familiar - whether they are bad habits, a bad relationship, or your parents home is hard even if you know it's right. Avraham had to leave what he knew, the life he was immersed in before he discovered G-d, in order to grow and actualize his potential.
There is a saying in Judaism - 'new place new mazel'. There is something about changing places that makes us more available to new and better opportunities in life. It isn't necessarily that the new place has anything to do with it, but rather the new attitude that fills us - changes that come with hope and optimism that make us more available to these opportunities. Therefore, we don't actually have to move to have a 'new mazel'. Each one of us has the potential to leave behind the things that are holding us back without ever packing a suitcase. May we all find the strength this week to leave behind old ways and forge forward in a new direction within ourselves.