This week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, tells the story of Avraham and Sarah. The parshah contains an abundance of crucial events in their lives. But one moment that stands out is God telling Sarai and Avram to change their names to Sarah and Avraham.
Names are very special and define who you are. One carries one’s name through the ups and downs in life. If God commanded Avram and Sarai to change their names, it must have been really important.
Even in my happiest or saddest moments, I will always be Lior Reut. My name, Lior, means “my light.” Before I was born, my parents were happy with two boys, but really wanted a little girl. When I was born, my parents were extraordinarily happy. I was “their light,” and now it is my name forever.
God commands Sarai and Avram to change their names, but only after they complete a cumbersome journey from their home to a new land. I remember feeling shocked in second grade when I read that they left their home and family simply because God told them to. I don’t know about you, but if I were told to go to an unfamiliar place by a god that I did not know, I would probably refuse.
Doing something new is hard and can be scary. When I try something new, I don’t necessarily know if I will like it. Unlike some people in my family, I am not the most adventurous kid in the world. I am not a fan of ziplining over lions or surfing in Israel when the waves are stronger than usual. But I know that I must take a leap of faith just like Avraham and Sarah did when they left for Canaan. Reading about their bravery in this parshah has motivated me. I imagine Sarah and Avraham moving to the new land, and I know that what I am facing won’t be so bad. I am excited to see what the next chapter in my life may bring. And in this way, I plan to make the most of my name.
Lior Gamliel is a seventh-grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.