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Lech Lecha ~לך־לך ~ 5775
Abram leaves Haran and journeys to Canaan as G-d commands. Sarai, his wife, and Lot, his nephew, are the only family that joins Abram. Although G-d promises to give Abram the Land of Canaan, they flee to Egypt when famine strikes. Misled by Abram and thinking Sarai is Abram’s sister, Pharaoh takes her into his Harem. A plague afflicts Pharaoh. Sarai is released and great gifts are given by Pharaoh to Abram and they then return to Canaan.
Adam and Lot’s flocks increased so much that enmity develops between their respective shepherds. The two camps separate; Lot’s first choice was the plush fertile plains of the Jordan, while Abram remained in Canaan. Abram is promised by G-d that his descendants will inherit the land in all four directions. Abram moved to Hevron and built an Altar to worship G-d.
Lot is taken captive when the five Kings of his region rebel against “The Confederacy of the Four Kings.” Abram immediately sets out to rescue his nephew and is successful. The Righteous Malkitzedek honors Abram and is likewise shown great respect in return.
Abram refuses personal aggrandizement from the battle. Growing old, Abram begins to question the reality of G-d’s promise that he shall be the “Father of a great Nation.” Abram, still weary of his future, is given a vision in which again G-d guarantees the Glory of Abram’s descendants. Sarai gives Abram her servant, Hagar, as a wife. This only brings further problems. G-d adds a letter to Abram’s name, as a blessing, and is again given G-d’s blessing.
The ritual of circumcision is given to Abraham as a commandment. Sarai’s name is also changed to Sarah. G-d tells Abraham she shall give birth to a son. Abraham, 99 years old, circumcised all the males of the tribe including himself. The Parashah concludes with a chronology of the generations from Noach to Abraham, and his journey from Ur Casdim to Charan, on the way to Canaan.
MAFTIR Genesis 17:24–27 ~ page 60
HAFTARAH Isaiah 40:27 – 41:16 ~ page 60
The exiles, says the prophet, need not fear that G-d has forgotten them, for those who trust in Him will renew their strength. Other nations rely on idols to deliver them from attack, but G-d will lead Israel, the seed of Abraham who loved G-d, to victory.
Parashah Study Questions
- If Hashem commanded Avraham to travel to Canaan, was it correct for Abraham to leave at the first instance of famine? Was this a test of faith? Did Avraham pass or fail (12:10)?
- The commentaries say that Avraham gave “ma’aser” (tithed) to Malki-Tzedek because he was a Kohen (14:20). What? Four hundred years before Aaron was born?
- Avraham accepted both Pharaoh’s (12:16) and later Abime-lech’s (20:14) gifts after they abducted Sarah. Why did he refuse to take even a ‘thread or a shoelace’ from the king of Sodom (14:23)?
- In the ritual of “the covenant between the pieces” the animals Avraham split down the middle represent nations of the world. Which nations? What did the whole dove represent (15:9)?
- According to Rashi, the Israelites would be in Egypt for 210 years. According to verse 15:13 we will be in Egypt 400 years. Exodus 12:40 says 430 years? Which is it?!