Beginning today, our congregation joins synagogues all over the world in reading the Bible, once again, from the very beginning. That means that in a couple weeks we will read of our ancestor, Abraham, who receives a “call” from God to go on a journey. He is told, go forth from all that you know to “find yourself” and the place that I will show you. I wonder what was running through his mind. Was he prepared to leave? Was he scared? What did it feel like to step forward into the unknown?
How many of us, like Abraham, have found ourselves on a journey that we weren’t prepared for, and were scared to take? In this month of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I can’t help but think of all the women that I know of in our community who received a call from their physicians, and found themselves on a journey, for which they were not prepared.
I’ve heard time and time again, that the journey they are on, is incredibly frightening, and even lonely, as these women face what feels like “the unknown.” Perhaps they ask the same questions that Abraham might have asked, “How will my family feel?” “How will I find the strength and the courage to journey forward?” “How will my journey end?”
Did Abraham fear stepping forward into the unknown? He must have, but something compelled him to move forward. Perhaps it was the knowledge that he was not alone on his journey, that his wife was with him, and God was with him.
Fear can be debilitating; fear can keep us from journeying forward and from engaging in and enjoying life. But, personal touch, communication and help from others can make a painful and scary journey just a little bit easier to travel.
Many of us already do a lot with regard to fighting breast cancer. We support programs that create awareness, we participate in walks and fundraisers to help raise money for breast cancer research. That is our task, to journey with the women in our community who are fighting breast cancer, so that they know they are not alone. We should connect with those who are on the journey, and those who have survived the journey; so that together they can share their stories, their challenges, their successes, and support one another.
As we begin the book of Genesis, may each of us move forward in our own journeys throughout life, and may we also reach out and share the journey of those facing breast cancer and other illness, helping them to move forward, toward a complete recovery and emotional healing. Amen.
Rabbi David Sirull has been the spiritual leader of Adas Yeshurun Synagogue in Augusta since 2003.