What resonates with me most about this week’s sedra is the idea of impossible hopes. Rabbi Lord Sacks has pointed out that what Avraham (Abraham) is worried about in this week’s sedra (which all the avot and imahot, the patriarchs and matriarchs, were worried about) is children who will carry on his ideals and a land in which to live out those ideals. He further points out that throughout three thousand years of Jewish history, these fears have been the same: will there be another generation of Jews and will they have a land of their own?
But I am looking here at it in a personal sense rather than a Zionist or anti-assimilation sense. The idea of progeny and place. Somewhere were I can be myself and someone who, while being a separate individual, will in some way carry on the ideals that I live for. Both of those seem very distant from me, just as they did for Avraham. More immediate is the promise of the suffering that precedes the reward, the four hundred years of exile, but the suffering seems unending.