There's a passage in the book of Zechariah that describes an encounter between a human being and a flock of angels, in which the human is referred to as "a journeyer among the stationary ones."

"The Journeyer" is a most apt appellation for our restless race. Other creatures also move from place to place, but only man's migrations are motivated by the desire to be someplace other than where he is now. Unlike mice, maple trees and angels, who are content to be what and where they are, the human being is constantly on the go—forever striving to get somewhere, preferably somewhere where no one has been before.

The problem is, there's nowhere left to go.

A century ago it was "Go west, young man!"; west went the young men, until there was no west left. Then one man won the race to the North Pole, and another to the South. Another human was first to reach the summit of Everest (though who exactly that was is still a matter of debate), and yet another made the "giant leap" of leaving a bootprint on the moon.

So what's left? A trip to another galaxy? A foray into the future? Will these destinations, if and when they are reached, satisfy the seeking spirit of The Journeyer?

We've all heard the story of the impoverished villager who dreams of a treasure buried under a bridge in Krakow. Arriving in the big city, he locates the bridge of his dream. The tollkeeper, noticing a loitering man with a shovel and suspicious intentions, confronts the pauper, who confesses his mission. "Dreams!" exclaims the guard. "Why, only last night I dreamt that in the home of Chaim Yankel the peddler in the village of Usseldorf, a chest of gold coins is buried in the wall behind the stove. So do I travel all the way to Usseldorf to break down the wall of some poor yokel's home?" Chaim Yankel hurries home, demolishes the wall behind his stove, and lives happily ever after on his buried treasure.

After all journeys are consummated, after all quests are realized, there remains one frontier which few have penetrated and fewer still have conquered: the frontier of self. We traverse the planet and beyond, we map the cosmos and the infrastructure of the atom, seeking some indication, some sign, of what it's all about; but how many of us have entered into the interior of our souls?

Lech lecha, the opening words of the Divine call to Abraham which launches and defines Jewish history, literally means, "Go to yourself." "Go to yourself," G‑d commanded the first Jew, "from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you."

When the Divine call came, Abraham could look back at a life of unprecedented discovery and achievement. This was the man who discovered the truth of the One G‑d, faced down the mightiest king of his time, braved death in a fiery furnace for his beliefs, and converted thousands to a monotheistic faith and ethos. All this he achieved entirely on his own, with no teacher, mentor or heavenly voice to direct him, with nothing but his great mind to guide him and his passionate quest for truth to drive him.

Then, in Abraham's 75th year, came the Divine command: "Go to yourself!" Now that you've completed your explorations and attained your goals, turn inward and embark on a journey into the essence of your own being.

Paradoxically, the more personal our journey, the more we require guidance and aid.

A well-developed sense of direction can guide us through the most labyrinthal road system; a keen social sense can negotiate the most convoluted office politics; the data and learning patterns stored in our brain facilitate our pursuit of new fields of study. But when we seek a path to the core of self, the knowledge and skills of a lifetime are suddenly ineffectual. We find ourselves in the dark, with no recourse but to call upon our Creator. "G‑d, who am I?" we cry. "Give me a clue; tell me why You made me."

This paradox is implicit in the Torah's first recorded instruction to the first Jew. When Abraham is commanded to "Go to yourself," this resourceful, self-made man is told to set aside his inborn talents ("your land"), the personality developed in seven-and-a-half decades of interaction with his environment ("your birthplace"), and the wisdom discovered and formulated by his phenomenal mind ("your father's house"), and "blindly" follow G‑d "to the land that I will show you."

In our outward journeys, our knowledge, talents and personality are the tools with which we explore the world beyond us. But in seeking our true self, these very tools—which constitute an exterior, superimposed "self" of their own—conceal as much as they reveal, distort even as they illuminate.

We employ these tools in our quest—we have no others. But if our journey is to lead us to the quintessence of self rather than some phantom thereof, it must be guided by He who created us in His image and sketched the blueprint of our souls in His Torah.