Math (if they even call it that anymore in school) was always my worst subject. Yet when I am trying to make sense of a situation,Math was always my worst subject understand someone’s behavior, or best predict an outcome, I will use that expression: Do the math. Whether this is true or not, to me mathematics represents reality as it is—without distorted perception, wishful thinking or resistance to what merely is.

Nevertheless, there is another way of looking at numbers.

Maybe one of the lessons of Lech Lecha is to learn a new type of math, “spiritual math.” Sometimes, we measure our success in any of our endeavors based on mere numbers, but what about looking beyond the numbers to the contribution and impact we may make? And how about our own experience and growth throughout the process? We think of capital in terms of money only, but what if we expanded it to encompass social capital, relationship capital and spiritual capital? Isn’t that what counting our blessings is all about?

Making a Sound Investment

Lech Lecha is the command by G‑d to Abraham to go from his “country,” his “place of birth” and “his father’s house.” These places are not just geographical but psychological: They represent the influences and biases of our society, cultures and the times our nature, our inherited genes, our dispositions and our family of origin. While the debate has raged for decades over which is stronger—nurture or nature—either side of this argument buys into control being exerted by an external force or circumstance outside of one’s control, and thus, a limitation.

In the city of Ur Kasdim, Abraham and Sarah were extremely wealthy and influential, successful by anyone’s math. Abraham and Sarah left their material comforts to go to a land that G‑d showed them—and it didn’t flow with milk and honey. It was desolate. There was severe famine, and they had to set out for Egypt. Lech Lecha, however, set into motion the chain of events that changed not just the lives of Abraham and Sarah, but the entire course of human history.

The journey of actualization is to break free ofWe are not alone limitations. But we are not alone. What Abraham and Sarah taught us is that each of us has a direct and intimate relationship with our Creator. Alone, we are limited. Connected to G‑d—and to each other—we are transcendent. To follow in the footsteps of Abraham and Sarah doesn’t mean leaving behind the places and people we love or give up our comforts or way of life. It does expect, however, that we should be willing to re-evaluate our assumptions, our priorities. When it comes to our society, culture and times, can we break free of the blame and finger-pointing, and be ethical, kind and responsible citizens and members of our communities?

Are we willing to re-narrate our victim stories with compassion for those who have hurt us? As we look to our inner circle, what do we consider to be our precious commodities, and what do we devalue? What do we give freely, and what do we hoard? Are we squandering thousands of life hours for no return? Are we wisely investing our social, relationship and spiritual capital?

Lech Lecha is about charting the spiritual trajectory of our lives. For G‑d’s sake, do the math.