ABOUT THIS WEEK'S TORAH READING
"Go for yourself!" That is the command God gives Avram (his name will change at the end of the parashah) as Lech L'cha opens. At this point, we have no idea why God chose a 75-year-old man to start a family that would grown into the nation God wants as His "kingdom of priests and holy nation," but God does promise Avram that his posterity will be rewarded if he heeds the call. Next week, we will discover why God chose him and we will also see God challenge his loyalty. This week, though, we have a famine that sends Avram and his camp into Egypt; the "selling" of Sarai to Egypt's king—and God's solution to that probem; the separation of Avram's nephew's retinue from Avram's camp; what amounts to the first "world war" and Avram's prowess as a military leader; the "covenant between the pieces" epsiode (was it only a dream?); the pairing of Avram to Hagar, his wife's personal servant, and the birth of Yishmael; and the covenant of circumcision, which goes with God's covenant with the renamed Avraham and his kin for all time. Finally, the impending birth of Yitzchak is announced. To download this week's Shabbat Booklet, please click here.
QUESTIONS FOR TORAH STUDY
Candle Lighting for Friday, October 19, is at 5:53 p.m.
Shabbat ends Saturday night with havdalah at 6:54 p.m.
This Week: Shabbat Parashat Lech L'chah
B'reishit 12,1-17.27, pages 69-93
FIRST ALIYAH: Verse 1, correctly translated, commands Avram to leave "your land, and your birthplace, and your father's house." What are some of the problems with this verse?
SEVENTH ALIYAH: The renamed Avraham is commanded to circumcise himself, but he is 99 years old. Why did God wait until now, as opposed to when Avraham was much younger?
The haftarah, Yishayahu 40.27-41.16, begins on page 93.
Next Week: Shabbat Parashat Vayera
B'reishit 18.1-22.24, pages 99-122
FIRST ALIYAH: Avraham, aged 99 and recovering from uncomfortable surgery, rushes to see to the needs of three strangers. We already know about Yitzchak, so why is this story even here?
SEVENTH ALIYAH: The Torah text says Avraham is stopped by a heavenly voice telling him not to harm Yitzchak. So why do some commentators, at least, insist he did kill his "only son"?
The haftarah, M'lachim Bet 4.17-23, begins on page 124.