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Lech Lecha in a Nutshell

Lech Lecha in a Nutshell

Genesis 12:1–17:27


G‑d speaks to Abram, commanding him, “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” There, G‑d says, he will be made into a great nation. Abram and his wife, Sarai, accompanied by his nephew Lot, journey to the land of Canaan, where Abram builds an altar and continues to spread the message of a one G‑d.

A famine forces the first Jew to depart for Egypt, where beautiful Sarai is taken to Pharaoh’s palace; Abram escapes death because they present themselves as brother and sister. A plague prevents the Egyptian king from touching her, and convinces him to return her to Abram and to compensate the brother-revealed-as-husband with gold, silver and cattle.

Back in the land of Canaan, Lot separates from Abram and settles in the evil city of Sodom, where he falls captive when the mighty armies of Chedorlaomer and his three allies conquer the five cities of the Sodom Valley. Abram sets out with a small band to rescue his nephew, defeats the four kings, and is blessed by Malki-Zedek the king of Salem (Jerusalem).

G‑d seals the Covenant Between the Parts with Abram, in which the exile and persecution (galut) of the people of Israel is foretold, and the Holy Land is bequeathed to them as their eternal heritage.

Still childless ten years after their arrival in the Land, Sarai tells Abram to marry her maidservant Hagar. Hagar conceives, becomes insolent toward her mistress, and then flees when Sarai treats her harshly; an angel convinces her to return, and tells her that her son will father a populous nation. Ishmael is born in Abram’s eighty-sixth year.

Thirteen years later, G‑d changes Abram’s name to Abraham (“father of multitudes”), and Sarai’s to Sarah (“princess”), and promises that a son will be born to them; from this child, whom they should call Isaac (“will laugh”), will stem the great nation with which G‑d will establish His special bond. Abraham is commanded to circumcise himself and his descendants as a “sign of the covenant between Me and you.” Abraham immediately complies, circumcising himself and all the males of his household.

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Discussion (14)
October 9, 2015
To Ruth
As much as a parent would wish to ask Hashem to substitute their life for their child's, that is not halachically allowed. A person may not substitute their life for another's life, as Hashem has a different plan for each person.
Chanah Ariella Rosencrantz
September 18, 2015
to ruth housman
If you read the Sefer Yasher, you will see one of the reasons Iyov could have been punished, was because his injustice and cruelty towards Bnei Israel in Egypt. He was one of the main reasons they were enslaved and treated so cruelly. He was a got, after all...
October 8, 2013
Ho old was Abraham when Hashem told him Lech Lecha
End of Parashat: Noach: Terach took Abram, Sari and Lot to go to Canaan on the way they stopped in Haran
Lech Lecha M' Artzecha ibn Ezra opinion is Ur Kasdim (not Haran)
This is not to be confused with the Passuk that abram left Haran when was 75
Berit Ben HaBetarim Hashem tells Abram I am the one that took you out of Ur Kasdim ( not Haran)
Parashat BO Perek 12 Pasuk 40-41 and Beni Ysrael were enslaved for 430 years to the very Day
From Yitzchak Birth in the year 2048 to yetzait Mitzriam in 2448 is 400 years.
Abraham was 100 years old in 2048.
Subtract 430 from 2448 is 2018 Abraham is 70 years old when the Journey started the date was 15 Nisan and the place Hashem Spoke to Abraham Lech Lacha was Ur Kasdim.
Terach took Abraham Sari and lot on the way to Eretz Cannan at the request of Abraham when Abraham was 70 . they landed in haran and Abram helped his father living in Haran for 5 years
November 27, 2012
Did G-d cause the famine that Abraham reacted to by going to Egypt
I am struggling with this idea right now. Did G-d specifically cause the famine just to test Abraham or was it at act of nature like those that occur in all our lives? Was Abraham smart or in a panic when he told Pharoah that Sarah was only his sister and not his wife? Was Sarah forced to obey Abraham by her position or was she complacient with the lie? I am behind on my bible reading. Peace.
Sacramento, CA
October 29, 2012
the test
It could be G_d tested Abraham, he failed, and mercy followed anyway, as Raf suggests. But this does not explain The Book of Job, because JOB lost everything, ad had to submit to derisive friends he thought were loyal, and he lost his family, and in fact, that test seems to me, to have been inordinately cruel. A test of, what? It's a puzzling and often dark story.. So I am stumped, about JOB and think about this often. I can say, we all suffer, and those who are righteous among us, suffer too. And for me there is no question JOB was a most righteous man. Is this our "JOB", to figure all of this out, to dialogue about mercy and goodness, and G_d?
ruth housman
marshfield hills, ma
October 27, 2012
I see it another way entirely God tested Abraham - and this time he failed ( but God passed him anyway).
October 25, 2012
Dear Rabbi Yaacov
This is a forum. In a forum one shares ideas. Anyone who considers that his way is the only way is mistaken. i have been to the yeshiva at Aish across the Wailing Wall. The students there are very nice, but not all that knowledgeable. I spent a few days with yeshiva students in Venice. Nice kids, but they too were not very knowledgeable. I have spent brief times with rabbis in far off places. For the most part they are knowledgeable. Others are not scholars, only rote learners. The one thing they have in common is the need to look correct , keep control, even when they are unaware.
As for Abraham, rabbis teach us how greater a person he was than Noah. It is always a derisive comparison. What rabbis don't realize is that making the comparison is in poor taste. If any one out there wants to do the yeshiva/Abraham study, I would recommend Tsfat.
Finally, like it or not, I find the Akeda objectionable. It killed Sarah. G-d learned a lesson. If yeshiva teaches otherwise, it doesn't change me.
October 23, 2012
the alchemy of words and all names and naming
I so agree, and I have written about this down the lines for a long time on Chabad and elsewhere. I too don't see anything humorous about The Akeda, and do see however that our English word laughter is contained by the word, slaughter. I simply do... these things come to me. Lot's lot in life wasn't so great and wasn't his wife turned into, a pillar of salt? And salt reminds me of The Covenant.

I do totally believe there is comic in cosmic as Ask Moses posted by Anonymous is saying.

I do find it very hard to believe anyone would seek God by being sacrificed, and at such a tender age. No I believe the response should have been, Take Me, instead. A father would say that, if he feared God and such a command. But the command itself is really strange. Why would God need such a sacrifice, except in very deep ways, we're all being sacrificed We see this in the heavy burden of sorrow that is inherent in being alive. I believe in You More, humor, as in it's not really over. In exist, exit.
ruth housman
marshfield hills, ma
October 23, 2012
Gentlemen. May I respectfully request that you move to Jerusalem and attend a yeshiva. Study in depth about Abraham and the 10 trials that G-d put him through to prove his worthiness. Then you'll have your facts straight. Please just don't go on line and make assumptions.
Rabbi Yaakov Nerenberg
October 23, 2012
i accept your take on the matter. I happen to think otherwise. That is what so great about the bible. There is lots of room for interpretation. We do know that Sarah laughed when G--d told her that she would conceive at 99m years old. Hence Isaac's name ' he laughs '. We also know that when she heard about the Akeda, Sarah died. In my interpretation, G-d gave Sarah too big a challenge. I think that Sarah's death was a lesson for Hashem, not to give challenges that were overpowering to individuals. G-d is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient. On Mount Sinai, Moses had to convince Hashem not to massacre the Israelites.And G-d listened.