This parshah begins with HaShem’s commandment to Avraham: Lech lecha meartzecha, “Go out from your land.” HaShem is telling Avraham to leave his father’s home in Charan and journey to Eretz Yisrael. But why does HaShem say lech lecha? Why doesn’t He just say “lech — Go”?

Lech lecha can be translated: “Go to yourself.” HaShem is not just instructing Avraham to travel. HaShem is telling him: You are now starting your lifetime journey. You will be passing through many places, traveling on many paths. Remember, wherever you go — go to yourself.

What does it mean to go to ourselves?

Our real self is our neshamah, which wants to serve HaShem, fulfill His commandments and feel close to Him. So lech lecha means that on all our journeys — wherever we go and whatever we do — we will really be going towards ourselves. We will be coming closer to our neshamah’s goal of serving HaShem.

Avraham understood HaShem’s instructions. He set out with his entire household towards Eretz Yisrael, working hard so that each of his journeys — and there were many stops — would bring him closer to the goals of his neshamah.

The Torah tells us “And Avram traveled and journeyed towards the south.” Rashi explains that the “south” is the place that would later become Yerushalayim. There, surrounded by the holiness of Yerushalayim, Avraham would reach very high levels.

But Avraham didn’t stay in this holy place for very long. Soon he found himself on a journey to a place he did not plan to visit: Mitzrayim! Would you have liked to leave the holy area of Yerushalayim after reaching such closeness to HaShem and go down to Mitzrayim?

But Avraham always remembered HaShem’s instruction: Lech lecha. He understood that if he had to travel to Mitzrayim, this also was part of his lifetime journey. There were things he had to do, some service for HaShem he had to complete down there in Mitzrayim. This was another of Avraham’s journeys on the way to himself — to his neshamah’s goal to serve HaShem.

Just like Avraham Avinu, the Jewish people are on a journey through history that will bring us to the goal of our neshamos: to serve HaShem fully. Like Avraham’s journey to Egypt, galus is a step toward that goal. And when we realize this purpose and dedicate ourselves to HaShem, the destination of our journey will come into sight. And then, led by Mashiach, we and the entire Jewish people will return home to Eretz Yisrael.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, Parshas Lech Lecha)