(Genesis 12:1-17:26)

Haftara: (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

  1. [12:1] “…leave your land and your birthplace and the house of your father…” This pasuk could have said, “Leave your land”, and everything else would have been included. What is the Torah adding by also mentioning “your birthplace and the house of your father”?
  2. [13:8] “…let there not be an argument between me and you…” Avram chooses between his own financial good and his relationship with his nephew. He prefers to keep a good relationship. Some say that this shows his humility. What other qualities might this act show?
  3. [14:18] “And Malki-tzedek …was a priest of God”. Noach believed in the one God. His son, Shem, and Shem’s grandson, Ever, taught about one God, and lived at the same time as Avraham. What was new and special about Avraham Avinu, his teachings and his relationship to God?
  4. [14:23]   “…so you shouldn’t be able to say I made Avram rich…” This is an insulting statement to say to one of the powerful kings of the area. Avram could have said this in a less aggressive way. What was Avram’s motivation in saying this?
  5. [15:14] Why did God tell Avram that his descendants would be slaves for 400 years? There were also very good things that He could have said. Why does the relationship between God and Avram begin with bad news?

Commentary

[15:5] “…look at the sky and count the stars…so will be your descendants”. God compares the Jewish people to the stars. Why is this an effective comparison?

The stars look to us like small points in the sky, but really, they are amazingly big worlds. So also, the Jews in the eyes of the world look like a small ordinary people. In reality, however, the Jews are an amazingly wonderful world of people.

–R. Yisrael ben Eliezer—the Ba’al Shem Tov (1700-1760)

 

******************************************************************************

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer