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Lech Lecha ~ 5774 ~ לך־לך
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
1. What is the traditional explanation for adding the prefix “Mar” (øî) to the name of the current month of Cheshvan?
2. What is the significance of the Ethiopian Jewish holiday of “Sigd” on the 29th day of Marcheshvan?
3. If Abram argues with Hashem (in next week’s parashah) regarding the destruction of Shechem, why doesn’t he stand up to Pharaoh when he takes Sarai (12:15)?
4. What type of send-off do Abram and Sarai get when leaving Egypt (12:20)?
5. Did Chadarlaomer destroy all the Amelekites (14:7)? If so, how did they attack us approximately 300 years later when we left Egypt?
6. What is the symbolism of the sacrifices being split down their middle (15:10)? Is this a sacrifice or a contract (úéøá)?