When Avram questions God about his legacy, the text says that God “took him outside.”
Rashi reflects on this language, offering that the concept of taking Avram “outside” can be physical or metaphysical. Contemporary scholar Aviva Zornberg expands this concept further as she writes, “The demand on Abraham and Sarah is to leave one existential environment, one set of paradigms, to emerge…from their enclosure in the present…into a new condition, in which a fertile self-realization becomes possible.”
We can relate to Avram as he questions his path and wonders what lies in store for him. As campus professionals working with students, even when we have a set plan, we are unable to see what challenges, opportunities and surprises await us.
This line of Torah is a powerful reminder for us and our students that at times, it is only by stepping outside of ourselves can we gain the valuable perspective and new vantage point on our lives.
Rabbi Ilana Schachter is the Senior Jewish Educator/Campus Rabbi of Penn Hillel.