(Genesis 12:1-17:26)

Haftara (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

  1. [12:8] …and he set up his tent to the west of Beit-El…” Our forefathers were nomadic herders. How would this occupation shape their personalities in order to make our forefathers ethical monotheists and fathers of the Jewish people?
  1. [12:11] “…I know that you are a beautiful woman…” Rashi (1040-1105, France) brings 2 explanations of this statement. One is that Avram and Sarai were so modest with each other, that Avram never saw her beauty. Another explanation is that Avram knew that Sarai was beautiful, but was impressed by the fact that she remained beautiful even on a journey. How can a religious tradition have such different viewpoints on how to relate to one’s wife?
  1. [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?
  1. [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?
  1. [Haftara: Yeshaya 40:31] “Those who hope in God will renew their strength…” Some would say that being realistic makes a person stronger than being optimistic. What do you think?

Commentary

[12:3] “…in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed”.

Israel shall be a “light of the nations” (Isaiah 42:6).  Through him, all men were to be taught the existence of the Most High God, and the love of righteousness, thereby opening for themselves the same treasury of blessings which he enjoyed.

—-R. Yosef Tzvi Hertz, 1872-1946, England.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And 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