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Lech Lecha Roundup

Lech Lecha Roundup

Lech-Lecha – Go unto you


Abram was the first person to realize that G‑d is a Supreme Being and that G‑d is not dust, an idol, the sea or the sun. He spreads this message all the time in the city of Charan where he lives. One day G‑d tells him to leave his city and his father’s home and to go to the land which G‑d will show him. So Abram and his wife Sarai together with his nephew Lot leave Charan and travel to the Land of Canaan where G‑d reveals Himself to him and tells him that He will give this land to Abram’s children. Abram builds an altar there.

Abram and Sarai love having guests. Their tent is open from all four sides so that people could come in from any direction in which they are traveling. Abram and Sarai feed and take care of all their guests and teach them about G‑d.

A short while later a famine comes onto the Land of Canaan so Abram and Sarai have to travel to Egypt to get food. There they say that they are brother and sister, because Sarai is so beautiful that Abram fears the palace guards will kill him to give Sarai to Pharaoh as a wife. Sarai is indeed taken prisoner to the palace, but overnight G‑d sends a plague to Pharaoh, who gets the message and frees Sarai. He also gives many gifts of animals, gold and silver to the couple and sends them on their way.

Back in Canaan, Lot goes to live in the city of Sodom. He is captured during a local war and Abram runs to his rescue with a small army and miraculously defeats a big army of four kings. G‑d makes a covenant – a pact or deal - with Abram and tells him that his children will suffer in exile – galut – but will then be freed and brought to the Holy Land which will be theirs forever.

Sounds good? Sounds great! But…Abram and Sarai were married for a long time and do not have children, and they are getting older…so Sarai encourages Abram to marry her maid Hagar, who was a converted Egyptian princess (at the time men were allowed to marry more than one wife), to give Abram the chance to have a child. Hagar becomes pregnant and has a child Yishmael. But Hagar is disrespectful to Sarai and runs away, then returns to Abram’s home after an angel convinces her to go back.

Finally, G‑d promises Abram that his children will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the dust of the earth. G‑d makes a covenant with Abraham and commands him to circumcise himself—do a brit milah—as a sign of the covenant. From that day on, all Jewish boys do a brit milah at 8 days old. G‑d changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s to Sarah and tells Abraham that they will have a child who they should name “Isaac” and that from Isaac will come the nation to which G‑d promised the Holy Land. At this time, Abraham is 99 years old and Sarah is 89.

Chani Benjaminson is co-director of Chabad of the South Coast, coordinator of Chabad’s Ask the Rabbi and Feedback departments, and is a member of the editorial staff of
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Eric October 25, 2014

I thought that Abraham and Sarah had a difference of 35-40 years in their age?

This would make more sense with Abram fearing that Pharoh would want to steal his wife than if she would be at least 65 years old if you state here that there is only 10 years difference between Sarai and Abram. In other sections of this website, I believe it is said Abram is 75 when he set out to Caanan.

Can anyone clear this chronology?
I am just shallow thinking Pharaoh would only want young ladies. Or is time and age and lifespan so much different in Biblical times? Reply

Anonymous houston, texas October 25, 2012

great This was a great parasha summary Reply

viva ny, ny August 5, 2012

my bat mitzvah ya So my bat mitzvah is coming up and I really didn't know about the parashat lech lecha now I know about it and I'm so happy. I can now preapare my drasha. Thank you so much. Reply

Liv & Jack Montreal October 31, 2009

Family Parshah We learn about Parshah in school, but my Dad and us go through it here more deeply every week.
Thanks for giving us this summary, its very helpful. Reply

nava schorsch, 4th grade kinneret dayschool riverdale, ny October 29, 2009

great your paragraphs and story helped me learn a lot and it helped me do my homework. thank you Reply

Anonymous London, UK January 8, 2009

Amazingx I really helped wiht my HWx Its Amazing x! Reply

Anonymous Worcester, mass November 7, 2008

Amazing That was amazing! I didn't know anything about this parsha, thanks! Reply

Anonymous San Francisco, CA September 2, 2008

My Bat Mitzvah My Bat Mitzvah is coming up, and my Torah portion is Lech-Lecha (the portion explained above). Until reading this, I had no idea what it meant. This summary was very helpful and I now understand it. I recommend it to anyone else who needs a good summary. Reply

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