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Torah Reading for Lech-Lecha

Torah Reading for Lech-Lecha

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Parshat Lech-Lecha
Shabbat, 8 Cheshvan, 5778
28 October, 2017
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Haftarah: (Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16)
Please note: These Haftarah texts follow Chabad custom. Other communities could possibly read more, less, or a different section of the Prophets altogether. Please consult with your rabbi.
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Isaiah Chapter 40

27Why should you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way has been hidden from the Lord, and from my God, my judgment passes"?   כזלָ֚מָּה תֹאמַר֙ יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב וּתְדַבֵּ֖ר יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל נִסְתְּרָ֚ה דַרְכִּי֙ מֵֽיְהֹוָ֔ה וּמֵֽאֱלֹהַ֖י מִשְׁפָּטִ֥י יַֽעֲבֽוֹר:
Why should you say: My people ([K’li Paz, mss.:] the people of) Jacob, and speak in exile.  
My way has been hidden from the Lord: He hid from before His eyes all that we served Him, and gave those who did not know Him, dominion over us.  
and from my God, my judgment passes?: He ignores the judgment of the good reward He should have paid our forefathers and us.  
28Do you not know-if you have not heard-an everlasting God is the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth; He neither tires nor wearies; there is no fathoming His understanding.   כחהֲל֨וֹא יָדַ֜עְתָּ אִם־לֹ֣א שָׁמַ֗עְתָּ אֱלֹהֵ֨י עוֹלָ֚ם | יְהֹוָה֙ בּוֹרֵא֙ קְצ֣וֹת הָאָ֔רֶץ לֹ֥א יִיעַ֖ף וְלֹ֣א יִיגָ֑ע אֵ֥ין חֵ֖קֶר לִתְבֽוּנָתֽוֹ:
the Creator of the ends of the earth… there is no fathoming His understanding: And One who has such strength and such wisdomHe knows the thoughts. Why does He delay your benefit, only to terminate the transgression and to expiate the sin through afflictions.  
29Who gives the tired strength, and to him who has no strength, He increases strength.   כטנֹתֵ֥ן לַיָּעֵ֖ף כֹּ֑חַ וּלְאֵ֥ין אוֹנִ֖ים עָצְמָ֥ה יַרְבֶּֽה:
Who gives the tired strength: And who will eventually renew strength for your tiredness.  
30Now youths shall become tired and weary, and young men shall stumble.   לוְיִֽעֲפ֥וּ נְעָרִ֖ים וְיִגָ֑עוּ וּבַֽחוּרִ֖ים כָּשׁ֥וֹל יִכָּשֵֽׁלוּ:
Now youths shall become tired: Heb. נְעָרִים. The might of your enemies who are devoid (מְנֹעָרִים) of commandments, shall become faint.  
and young men shall stumble: Those who are now mighty and strong, shall stumble, but you, who put your hope in the Lord shall gain new strength and power.  
31But those who put their hope in the Lord shall renew [their] vigor, they shall raise wings as eagles; they shall run and not weary, they shall walk and not tire.   לאוְקוֵֹ֚י יְהֹוָה֙ יַֽחֲלִ֣יפוּ כֹ֔חַ יַֽעֲל֥וּ אֵ֖בֶר כַּנְּשָׁרִ֑ים יָר֙וּצוּ֙ וְלֹ֣א יִיגָ֔עוּ יֵֽלְכ֖וּ וְלֹ֥א יִיעָֽפוּ:
wings: [The Hebrew אבר means] a wing.  

Isaiah Chapter 41

1Be silent to Me, you islands, and kingdoms shall renew [their] strength; they shall approach, then they shall speak, together to judgment let us draw near.   אהַֽחֲרִ֚ישׁוּ אֵלַי֙ אִיִּ֔ים וּלְאֻמִּ֖ים יַֽחֲלִ֣יפוּ כֹ֑חַ יִגְּשׁוּ֙ אָ֣ז יְדַבֵּ֔רוּ יַחְדָּ֖ו לַמִּשְׁפָּ֥ט נִקְרָֽבָה:
Be silent to Me: in order to hear My words.  
islands: Heathens ([mss. Kli Paz:] nations).  
shall renew [their] strength: They shall adorn themselves and strengthen themselves with all their might perhaps they will succeed in their judgment by force.  
they shall approach: here, and then, when they approach, they shall speak.  
to judgment let us draw near: to reprove them to their faces.  
2Who aroused from the East, [the one] whom righteousness accompanied? He placed nations before him and over kings He gave him dominion; He made his sword like dust, his bow like wind-blown stubble.   במִ֚י הֵעִיר֙ מִמִּזְרָ֔ח צֶ֖דֶק יִקְרָאֵ֣הוּ לְרַגְל֑וֹ יִתֵּ֨ן לְפָנָ֚יו גּוֹיִם֙ וּמְלָכִ֣ים יַ֔רְדְּ יִתֵּ֚ן כֶּֽעָפָר֙ חַרְבּ֔וֹ כְּקַ֥שׁ נִדָּ֖ף קַשְׁתּֽוֹ:
Who aroused from the East: one whom righteousness accompanied? Who aroused Abraham to bring him from Aram which is in the East and the righteousness that he would perform that was opposite his feet wherever he went.  
He placed nations before him: He, Who aroused him to leave his place to cause him to move, He placed before him four kings and their hosts.  
He gave him dominion: Heb. יַרְדְּ, like יַרָדֶּה.  
He made his sword like dust: [Jonathan paraphrases:] He cast slain ones before his sword like dust. He suffered his sword to take its toll of casualties as [numerous as] grains of dust, and his bow He suffered to take its toll of casualties who would fall like wind blown stubble.  
3He pursued them and passed on safely, on a path upon which he had not come with his feet.   גיִרְדְּפֵ֖ם יַֽעֲב֣וֹר שָׁל֑וֹם אֹ֥רַח בְּרַגְלָ֖יו לֹ֥א יָבֽוֹא:
He pursued them and passed on safely: He traversed all his fords safely; he did not stumble when he pursued them.  
a path upon which he had not come with his feet: A road upon which he had not come previously with his feet. [The future tense of] יָבוֹא means that he was not accustomed to come.  
4Who worked and did, Who calls the generations from the beginning; I, the Lord, am first, and with the last ones I am He.   דמִֽי־פָעַ֣ל וְעָשָׂ֔ה קֹרֵ֥א הַדֹּר֖וֹת מֵרֹ֑אשׁ אֲנִ֚י יְהֹוָה֙ רִאשׁ֔וֹן וְאֶת־אַֽחֲרֹנִ֖ים אֲנִי־הֽוּא:
Who worked and did: for him all this? He Who called the generations from the beginning, to Adam, He did this also for Abraham.  
I, the Lord, am first: to perform wonders and to aid.  
and with the last ones I am He: Also with you, the last sons, I will be, and I will aid you.  
5The islands shall see and fear; the ends of the earth shall quake; they have approached and come.   הרָא֚וּ אִיִּים֙ וְיִירָ֔אוּ קְצ֥וֹת הָאָ֖רֶץ יֶֽחֱרָ֑דוּ קָֽרְב֖וּ וַיֶּֽאֱתָיֽוּן:
The islands shall see: [lit. saw.] The heathens shall see the mighty deeds that I will perform, and they shall fear.  
they have approached and come: One to another they will gather to war when they see the redemption.  
6Each one shall aid his fellow, and to his brother he shall say, "Strengthen yourself."   ואִ֥ישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵ֖הוּ יַעְזֹ֑רוּ וּלְאָחִ֖יו יֹאמַ֥ר חֲזָֽק:
Each one… his fellow etc.: He shall say, “Strengthen yourself” for war, perhaps their gods will protect them [lit. stand up for them].  
7And the craftsman strengthened the smith, the one who smooths with the hammer [strengthened] the one who wields the sledge hammer; he says of the cement, "It is good," and he strengthened it with nails that it should not move.   זוַיְחַזֵּ֚ק חָרָשׁ֙ אֶת־צֹרֵ֔ף מַֽחֲלִ֥יק פַּטִּ֖ישׁ אֶת־ה֣וֹלֶם פָּ֑עַם אֹמֵ֚ר לַדֶּ֙בֶק֙ ט֣וֹב ה֔וּא וַיְחַזְּקֵ֥הוּ בְמַסְמְרִ֖ים לֹ֥א יִמּֽוֹט:
And the craftsman strengthened: [i.e.,] the one who molds the idol.  
the smith: who plates it with gold.  
the one who smoothes with the hammer: The final stage, when he taps lightly to flatten out the work.  
the one who wields the sledge hammer: He is the one who commences on it when it is a block, and beats it with all his might.  
he says of the cement, “It is good,”: Heb. דֶּבֶק. He alludes to those who seek suitable ground upon which to adhere iron plates. דֶּבֶק is soudure in French, weld.  
and he strengthened it: The idol.  
with nails that it should not move: All of them will strengthen each other.  
8But you, Israel My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, who loved Me,   חוְאַתָּה֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל עַבְדִּ֔י יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּחַרְתִּ֑יךָ זֶ֖רַע אַבְרָהָ֥ם אֹֽהֲבִֽי:
But you, Israel My servant: and I am obliged to help you. The end of this sentence is (infra 10): “Do not fear.” This appears to me to be the sequence of the section according to its simple meaning. But the Midrash Aggadah in Gen. Rabbah 44:7 expounds the entire section as alluding to Malchizedek and Abraham.  
[5] Islands saw: the war and feared. Shem [Malchizedek] feared Abraham, lest he say to him, You begot these wicked men in the world. And Abraham feared Shem, since he slew his sons, the people of Elam, who was descended from Shem.  
islands: Just as the islands of the sea are distinguished and recognized in the sea, so were Abraham and Shem distinguished in the world.  
[6] Each one aided his fellow: This one [Shem] aided this one [Abraham] with blessings, “Blessed be Abram” (Gen. 14:19), and this one [Abraham] aided this one [Shem] with gifts, “And he gave him tithe from everything” (ibid. verse 20).  
[7] And the craftsman strengthened: This is Shem, who was a blacksmith, to make nails and bars for the ark.  
the smith: This is Abraham, who purified (צוֹרֵף) the people, to bring them near to God [lit. to Heaven].  
the sledge hammer: This is Abraham, who smote (הָלַם) all these kings at one time.  
He says of the cement: Heb. דֶּבֶק. The nations said, It is good to cleave to this one’s God [rather than to Nimrod’s idols].  
And he strengthened him: Shem strengthened Abraham to cleave to the Holy One, blessed be He, and not to move.  
[8] And you, Israel My servant: Abraham, who was not descended from righteous menI did all this for him, and you, Israel My servant, who belong to Me by dint of two forefathers.  
the seed of Abraham, who loved Me: who did not recognize Me because of the admonition and the teaching of his fathers, but out of love.  
9Whom I grasped from the ends of the earth, and from its nobles I called you, and I said to you, "You are My servant"; I chose you and I did not despise you.   טאֲשֶׁ֚ר הֶֽחֱזַקְתִּ֙יךָ֙ מִקְצ֣וֹת הָאָ֔רֶץ וּמֵֽאֲצִילֶ֖יהָ קְרָאתִ֑יךָ וָֽאֹ֚מַר לְךָ֙ עַבְדִּי־אַ֔תָּה בְּחַרְתִּ֖יךָ וְלֹ֥א מְאַסְתִּֽיךָ:
whom I grasped: Heb. הֶחֱזַקְתִּי. I took you for My share. Comp. (Ex. 4:4) “And he stretched out his hand and grasped (וַיְּחֲזֵק) it.”  
from the ends of the earth: from the other nations.  
and from its nobles: from the greatest of them.  
I called you: by name for My share, “My firstborn son, Israel” (ibid. v. 22).  
and I did not despise you: like Esau, as it is said (Malachi 1:3), “And Esau I hated.”  
10Do not fear for I am with you; be not discouraged for I am your God: I encouraged you, I also helped you, I also supported you with My righteous hand.   יאַל־תִּירָא֙ כִּֽי עִמְּךָ֣־אָ֔נִי אַל־תִּשְׁתָּ֖ע כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ אִמַּצְתִּ֙יךָ֙ אַף־עֲזַרְתִּ֔יךָ אַף־תְּמַכְתִּ֖יךָ בִּימִ֥ין צִדְקִֽי:
be not discouraged: Heb. אַל תִּשְׁתָּע. Let your heart not melt like wax (שַׁעֲוָה). This is the rule: Every word whose first radical is ‘shin,’ when it is used in the reflexive present, past, or future, the ‘tav’ separates it and enters between the first two radicals. Comp. (infra 49:16) “And He was astounded (וַיַּשְׁתּוֹמֵם) ” ; (Micah 6:16) “For the statutes of Omri shall be observed (וְיִשְׁתַּמֵּר)” ; (I Sam. 1:14) “will you be drunk (תִּשְׁתַּכָּרִין) ?” ; (Job 30:16) “My soul is poured out (תִּשְׁתַּפֵּ).”  
11Behold all those incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded; those who quarreled with you shall be as nought and be lost.   יאהֵ֚ן יֵבֹ֙שׁוּ֙ וְיִכָּ֣לְמ֔וּ כֹּ֖ל הַנֶּֽחֱרִ֣ים בָּ֑ךְ יִֽהְי֥וּ כְאַ֛יִן וְיֹֽאבְד֖וּ אַנְשֵׁ֥י רִיבֶֽךָ:
12You may seek them but not find them, those who quarrel with you; those who war with you shall be as nought and as nothing.   יבתְּבַקְשֵׁם֙ וְלֹ֣א תִמְצָאֵ֔ם אַנְשֵׁ֖י מַצֻּתֶ֑ךָ יִהְי֥וּ כְאַ֛יִן וּכְאֶ֖פֶס אַנְשֵׁ֥י מִלְחַמְתֶּֽךָ:
13For I, the Lord your God, grasp your right hand; Who says to you, "Fear not, I help you."   יגכִּ֗י אֲנִ֛י יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ מַֽחֲזִ֣יק יְמִינֶ֑ךָ הָֽאֹמֵ֥ר לְךָ֛ אַל־תִּירָ֖א אֲנִ֥י עֲזַרְתִּֽיךָ:
14Fear not, O worm of Jacob, the number of Israel; "I have helped you," says the Lord, and your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.   ידאַל־תִּֽירְאִי֙ תּוֹלַ֣עַת יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב מְתֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֲנִ֚י עֲזַרְתִּיךְ֙ נְאֻם־יְהֹוָ֔ה וְגֹֽאֲלֵ֖ךְ קְד֥וֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
O worm of Jacob: Heb. תּוֹלַעַת. The family of Jacob, which is weak like a worm, which has no strength except in its mouth. תּוֹלַעַת is vermener in O.F., [vermisseau in Modern French, a worm].  
the number of Israel: Heb. מְתֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, the number of Israel.  
15Behold I have made you a new grooved threshing-sledge, with sharp points; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them fine, and you shall make hills like chaff.   טוהִנֵּ֣ה שַׂמְתִּ֗יךְ לְמוֹרָג֙ חָר֣וּץ חָדָ֔שׁ בַּ֖עַל פִּֽיפִיּ֑וֹת תָּד֚וּשׁ הָרִים֙ וְתָדֹ֔ק וּגְבָע֖וֹת כַּמֹּ֥ץ תָּשִֽׂים:
a… grooved threshing sledge: It is a heavy wooden implement made with many grooves, similar to the ironsmiths’ tool known as ‘lime’ in French, a file, and they drag it over the straw of the ears of grain and it cuts them until they become fine straw.  
new: When it is new, before the points of its grooves are smoothed off, it cuts very much, but when it becomes old, the points of the grooves are smoothed off.  
with sharp points: Heb. פִּיפִיוֹת. Those are the points of the grooves.  
you shall thresh the mountains: kings and princes.  
16You shall winnow them, and a wind shall carry them off, and a tempest shall scatter them, and you shall rejoice with the Lord, with the Holy One of Israel shall you praise yourself.   טזתִּזְרֵם֙ וְר֣וּחַ תִּשָּׂאֵ֔ם וּסְעָרָ֖ה תָּפִ֣יץ אֹתָ֑ם וְאַתָּה֙ תָּגִ֣יל בַּֽיהֹוָ֔ה בִּקְד֥וֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל תִּתְהַלָּֽל:
You shall winnow them: You shall scatter them, as with a pitchfork, to the wind.  
and a wind shall carry them off: by themselves to Gehinnom.  
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