(Genesis 12:1-17:26)

Haftara (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

1. [12:10] The first major story about our father, Avraham, is the story of him going down to Egypt because of a famine. As he and Sara enter Egypt, he tells Sara to say that she is his sister, and she agrees. Because of this, she is taken into the Pharoah’s house. The Ramban (Spain, 1194-1285) says that this was an unintentional sin by Avraham. Why does the story of the Jewish people start with such an uninspiring and negative story?

2. [13:2] Avraham accepted gifts from Pharoah, but later [14:23], he refuses to accept gifts from the king of Sodom. Why does he accept them from Pharoah, but not from the king of Sodom?

3. [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?

4. [16:1] Our mothers Sara, Rivka and Rachel all had difficulty in having children. How did this trial help in their personal development?

5. [17:10] Why is circumcision the physical sign of the agreement between God and the Jewish people?


[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)


Mizmor LeDavid meets at the Mesorati High School, 8 Beitar Street, in the auditorium. There is another minyan that meets there, we are the one further north. Accessible from Beitar, the single gate at the bottom of the semi-circle of steps, or from the north end of Efrata Street, through the gate on the right, then turn left.

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