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Lech Lecha Summaries

Lech Lecha 5779-2018

“Why Did G-d Choose Abraham?”

As opposed to other great, righteous people and leaders, the Torah does not specify why Abram was chosen by G-d.

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Lech Lecha 5778-2017

“The Beautiful, Barren Matriarchs”

All four matriarchs were both beautiful and barren. The commentators wrestle with the reason for these blessings and challenges.

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Lech Lecha 5777-2016

“Abram’s Dispute with Lot”

The dispute between the shepherds of Abram and those of Lot was far more than a quarrel over land and possessions. It was due to basic and fundamental philosophical differences regarding ethics and values between Abram and his nephew.

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Lech Lecha 5776-2015

“What’s in a Name?—a Change of Destiny”

A change of name in Jewish tradition often means a change in destiny, and in certain instances, a dramatic transformation in the history of humankind.

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Lech Lecha 5775-2014

“Lot Grows Increasingly Estranged from his Uncle Abram”

What starts off as an extremely close relationship between Abram and his orphaned nephew Lot, eventually becomes a complete estrangement. What was the cause of that estrangement?

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Lech Lecha 5774-2013

“Setting the Stage for the Jewish Future”

Our sages say that the deeds of the forefathers are signposts for the children. The story of Abraham and Sarah are truly predictive of both future Jewish history and contemporary Jewish life.

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Lech Lecha 5773-2012

“To the Land that I Will Show You”

Why does the Al-mighty direct Abram to leave his home in Ur Kasdim and go to the land that “He will show him,” rather than specifically instruct Abram to go to the land of Canaan?

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Lech Lecha 5772-2011

“The Two Covenants”

In this week’s parasha, we learn of two covenants, the Covenant between the Pieces and the Covenant of Circumcision. What is the relationship between these two covenants?

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Lech Lecha 5771-2010

“Abram Prays for Others”

The Talmud states that those who invoke G-d’s compassion for their neighbors, and who are in need of a similar response, are answered first. In this week’s parasha, we find two instances where the commentaries indicate that Abram prayed for others.

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Lech Lecha 5770-2009

“Go for Yourself ”

The Al-mighty tells Abram to leave his homeland, his relatives and his father’s house and go to a land that G-d will show him. Although Abram is instructed to give up his past, he is not told to deny his past. Contemporary Jews, who undertake the journey of embracing tradition, are to be admired for their bold actions. While they may be called upon to abandon much of their past, they dare not deny their past. Doing so is invariably unhealthy and destabilizing.

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Lech Lecha 5769-2008

“A Blessing on Your Head”

When he leaves his homeland and sets forth for Canaan, Abraham is promised by G-d that He will bless those who bless Abraham. This Divine promise has greatly impacted on Abraham’s descendants. Blessings have played an enormously important role in many aspects of Jewish life throughout the millennium.

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Lech Lecha 5768-2007

“The Battle of the Four Kings Against the Five”

Parashat Lech Lecha goes into great detail regarding the battle of the four kings against the five, raising questions of its significance. By studying the details of this battle, we learn many moral lessons, once again confirming that the Torah is primarily a guide for moral and ethical living, and not a book of history.

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Lech Lecha 5767-2006

“The Souls That Were Made in Haran”

In this week’s parasha we read of Abram’s journey from Haran to Canaan. Abram not only takes his family and his belongings to Canaan, but also the “souls that he had made in Haran.” The rabbis offer a number of interpretations of who or what these “souls” are. However, the big question remains: What ever happened to those “souls”?

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Lech Lecha 5766-2005

“Abraham, Father of the Jewish Nation”

Abraham plays such a key role in the development of the Jewish people and in the world arena that there are more chapters devoted to his life than to the creation of the world and to the previous 20 generations of humankind. It is Abraham’s ethical and moral character that leads to Abraham being the chosen of G-d. The multi-talented Abraham becomes the religious and nationalistic leader of Israel, and the forefather who takes hold of the land of Israel/Canaan for the Jewish people.

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Lech Lecha 5765-2004

“Was Hagar Abused?”

A desperate Sarai gives her handmaiden, Hagar, to Abram to be his wife and have a child on her behalf. When Hagar becomes pregnant, she begins to mock Sarai. Sarai abuses Hagar, and Hagar flees. Is it conceivable that our venerated matriarch Sarai really abused her vulnerable handmaiden, Hagar?

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Lech Lecha 5764-2003

“A Scriptural Assessment of Lot”

Abraham’s nephew, Lot, is perhaps the classic Biblical example of an “average Joe.” With relatives who range from saintly to dastardly, it’s no wonder that his deeds and descendants similarly run the broad moral spectrum.

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Lech Lecha 5763-2002

“The Two Birds of Israel”

The “Covenant Between the Pieces” is full of symbolism regarding the future of the Jewish people. Three 3-year-old animals–a heifer, a goat and a ram–are slaughtered and cut in half. Two birds, a turtledove and a young pigeon, are not cut. The animals, say the rabbis, represent the nations of the world who seek to destroy the Jewish people. The birds, the turtledove and the young pigeon, on the other hand, symbolize the Jews. The animals are split in half, indicating that those nations who attack Israel will ultimately be destroyed. Scripture states that the “bird” is not cut, referring to only a single bird. Why are two birds necessary to represent the Jewish people? We are, after all, one people, not two. And why are the two birds referred to as a single bird?

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Lech Lecha 5762-2001

“Understanding Ishmael”

In order to truly understand Ishmael, we need to know the background of his mother, Hagar, the Egyptian princess, who abandoned her pampered royal life to serve as a handmaiden in the home of Abram and Sarah. After Hagar is expelled from the house by Sarah, she is promised by the angel that she will bear a child, Ishmael. Eventually, Hagar and Ishmael are again cast out, this time by Abraham, into the wilderness. The expulsion is the start of the great struggle between the children of Ishmael and the children of Israel. If we are ever to bring peace to our embattled planet, it is important to understand the endowments and strengths of Ishmael.

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Lech Lecha 5761-2000

“Lot, Nephew of Abram: The Promise and the Tragedy”

Abram was very close to his orphaned nephew, Lot, and did his best to educate him in the ways of morality and ethics, but Abram and Lot soon grow apart because of Lot’s obsession with comfort and wealth. At first, Lot showed great promise. In fact, he probably could have been the material and spiritual heir of Abram, but instead chose the luscious plain–he chose Sodom.

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Lech Lecha – 5760-1999

“Understanding the Rite of Circumcision”

The ritual of circumcision, performed on the flesh of the Jewish male, has always been the fundamental mark of identity for the Jewish man. There are those who say that the letting of blood during the circumcision is a constant reminder that the Jewish people must live by their blood. It may also mean that the Jewish people live (or die) by the organ that is circumcised. After all, Jewish destiny depends upon how the Jewish male chooses to use his sexual organ. If Jewish men marry Jewish women and build strong Jewish families, then the covenant of G-d and the Jewish people will be affirmed. If, however, Jewish males allow themselves to be seduced and proceed to sow in foreign fields, then the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people is not only threatened, but may very likely be lost forever.

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