Rabbi Sydni's Shabbat Sermons
פרשת לך-לך, תשפ״א
Parshat Lekh-L'kha, 5781
by Rabbi Sydni
Saturday, October 31st, 2020
Be a Blessing, Vote!
And Adonai said to Avram, lekh l’kha (hey you, go!) from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I shall make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and be a blessing! (Genesis 12:1-2)
The Rabbis of the Talmud ask, why does God have to present three different benefits to Avram’s travel? Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish refers to the first blessing of our Amidah in his answer. “I shall make you a great nation” points to the idea that the Jewish people will say the eventual Avraham’s name in their thrice daily prayer - elohei Avraham. “And I will bless you” points to the blessing of having a son like Isaac - elohei Yitzhak. “And I shall make your name great” points to our ancestor Jacob, who magnifies Avram’s name through his many children - elohei Ya’akov. But despite the greatness of Isaac and Jacob, the first blessing of our Amidah ends magen Avraham, as God specifies that “you [Avraham] shall be a blessing.”
In every Amidah, we stand in awe of God’s gifts in the forms of our network of family and friends, the personal blessings we experience daily, and the success we have earned as individuals and as the Jewish people. At the same time, we remind ourselves of the responsibility we inherit from Abraham - to live our lives not just receiving blessing but distributing blessing everywhere and to everyone we can.
This week, we have the opportunity to actively be a blessing for our country, to give back by participating in the democratic process. Every vote represents hope that our country may yet be the place we envision for our generations to come; every vote represents our confidence in the process upon which our country was built; and every vote represents a real care for the people who surround us. Even if you have already voted, you still have the ability to encourage others to take on that mitzvah, whether by calling those you know who are still planning to stay home on Tuesday or getting involved in election monitoring, making sure that everyone registered to vote in Caddo Parish has access to the polls. Heyeh b’rakhah - take this Tuesday and the time leading up to it to be a blessing!