Gen. 12:1 – 17:27
Avram goes to Egypt
Avram is told by HaShem that he should go away from his father’s house and go to where HaShem tells him. Avram was told that if he did this, HaShem would bless him and make his children and their children a great nation.
Avram did what HaShem told him and packed up himself his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot and went to the land of Canaan. He was 75 years old when he begins the journey. He pitched his tent on a mountain, but it had not rained there for a long time, so it was dry and there was no food. Avram took his family to Egypt to stay until it rained once again in Canaan.
Now Sarai was very beautiful and Avram was afraid the Egyptians would kill him if they knew she was his wife so that they could marry her. Avram told the Pharaoh that Sarai was his sister. Because all the princes did want to marry her, they treated Avram very well and gave him sheep and oxen and many servants.
Things started to go wrong for the Pharaoh, and he blamed it on Avram and Sarai, he told them to leave, but they could keep the gifts that they had been given.
When Avram returned to Canaan, he was a very wealthy man, but things were the same between Avram and Lot. Avram quarreled with Lot, and there was trouble with the men who tended Avram’s cattle and the people who did the same for Lot.
Avram rescues Lot
Avram told Lot that they should not quarrel because there was so much land, he would take half and Lot would have the other half. Lot could see the part that he would be given was the plain of the Jordan River, which was green and had water for his cattle. He thanked Avram and said goodbye. Lot pitched his tent near the city of Sodom. The people of Sodom and the twin city of Gomorrah were wicked people and there was a war and Lot and all he owned were captured. Avram rescued Lot, his goods and all his followers from the people of Sodom.
Avram & Hagar
After Avram had lived in Canaan for ten years, he gave his wife Hagar, an Egyptian, to be her slave. She gave him to Avram to have his child. Hagar became pregnant and Sarai became jealous of her. Hagar ran away, and an angel of HaShem told her to return to Sarai and obey her. Hagar was told that she would have uncountable descendants. She was told to name him Ishmael.
Avram becomes Abraham – Sarai becomes Sarah
Avram was unhappy because Sarai had no children, and he was ninety-nine years old and Sarai was ninety. One day HaShem spoke to him and said, “No longer will you be called Avram but Abraham, for you are the father of many nations. I will give you the land of Canaan. Your wife, Sarai, shall now be called Sarah. I will bless her, she will have a son and become the mother of kings.”
Abraham laughed. “But we are too old to have a son,” he said.
“It shall happen,” HaShem told him, “and because you could laugh at my words you shall call your son Isaac, which means ‘he who will laugh.’”
HaShem told Abraham that as a sign of the covenant between them that all males should be circumcised and throughout the generations males shall be circumcised when they are eight days old. (This tradition is still observed today.)
Fulfillment of the Covenant
Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised. Abraham and all of his male servants were circumcised on that day that Abraham and HaShem spoke.
HaShem explains the path he expects Abraham to take in his life. He wants him to follow him and give up what he has known. Abraham is wise enough and has faith in HaShem, and he follows him where HaShem leads him. His confidence and faith let him do wondrous things.
In the Haftarah, the prophet Isaiah talks to the people of Israel, who think that HaShem has abandoned them. Isaiah explains that if they have faith and follow HaShem they can overcome all obsolesces in their way.
- Third of 54 Sedras in the Torah
- Written on 208 lines in the Sefer Torah
- 126 P’sukim (verses)
- 1,686 words
- 6,336 letters
Next week’s Parashat: VaYera