This week, we get into the stories of Abraham and Sarah, born Abram and Sarai. At the beginning of Lech L’cha, Abram is 75 and Sarai, 65. They are childless. Abram’s father Terah had intended to move from Ur to Canaan, but stopped in Haran (why?). Abram is told to leave his land and his father’s house and go where the Lord leads him. He and his descendants will be blessed and will enable all the peoples of the world to be blessed. At the end of the reading, 24 years have passed. Abram is Abraham (“father of multitudes”) and Sarai is Sarah (princess), and they are in Canaan. Abraham has a son, Ishmael, now 13, by Sarah’s maid Hagar, and has been told he will shortly have one by Sarah. The Lord makes a covenant with him, in which, if he and his descendants through Isaac walk in the Lord’s ways, those descendants will be numerous and will be assigned the land of Canaan as an everlasting holding. The covenant is sealed through the rite of circumcision.
In the intervening 24 years, Abram has a variety of adventures which illustrate his character. He is trusting, leaving Haran without knowing where the Lord is directing him. His skill at diplomacy and problem solving is evident in his handling of major disputes between his workers and nephew Lot’s. His military victories against the kinglets who capture Lot show him to be an able commander. His family loyalty is shown in his rescue of Lot and his love of Ishmael. On the other hand, when Abram and Sarai go to Egypt for respite from famine in Canaan, Abram passes Sarai off as his sister to save his own life while she is taken into Pharaoh’s palace. [OK, according to Rashi (1040-1105 or so) he does try to protect her at first by hiding her in a box.] Still…And he totally washes his hands of the troubles between Sarai and her maidservant (his concubine) Hagar.
But with all that, Abraham still seems something of a blank to me. We don’t have any text on his initial encounter with the Lord or why he was chosen. The rabbis have filled in some of this with midrash, but it’s puzzling why such a seminal development as Abram’s adoption of monotheism is not presented explicitly in Genesis. He lacks a clearly defined personality, and I can’t tell whether that is due to the gaps in the text or his actually having a generally bland personality. His strongest emotions concern his search for an heir – Lot? Eliezer (15:2)? Ishmael (17:18)? Sarai and Hagar, in contrast, are real people, with recognizable, clearly limned, if not always admirable, characters. Sarai’s behavior toward Hagar is certainly questionable. She gives Hagar to her husband specifically to bear children for him, a common practice at that time by barren wives. Yet when Hagar conceives, Sarai has a hard time accepting emotionally the result of the plan she herself put into action. Further, Hagar is not at all submissive to her mistress but is blatantly disrespectful, in spite of how much pain she knows it must be causing Sarai. One would expect the first Matriarch to accept that with forbearance. Instead, she’s mean enough that Hagar runs away, coming back only after an angel tells her that she will have a son, Ishmael, and many descendants and that she should just put up with Sarai. And next week, we’ll see how these family tensions increase when Sarai, now Sarah, finally gives birth to her son Isaac.
Parshas Lech Lecha – On 1 Foot
Posted: 07-07-2006(Viewed 739 times)
G-d: If you go, I’ll make you a great nation. Deal?
Circumcisions on the house.
Top Ten US Weekly/People Magazine Headlines for Biblical A-Listers
by the weekly bang staff Posted: 07-22-2006(Viewed 1753 times)
10. Yosef named Sexiest Man Alive in Egypt
9. Scandalous Scoop: David seen canoodling with Batsheva
8. 90 year old Sarah, suddenly expecting!!
7. After 22 years, Father and Son Reunite in Egypt!
6. Esther wins Fox’s Shushan Idol
5. Miriam’s Az Yashir tops Billboard charts
4. “Team Rachel” and “Team Leah” tshirts hot-seller, which side are you on?
3. Isaac gets PUNK’D!
2. Avrohom and Hagar: Are They still Together?
1. Who wore it better: Adam or Eve?
– Why did you leave your last job?
– Company relocated and didn’t tell me where…
As we all know, when we hit retirement age we come face to face with the fact that it may be time to relocate. The big question is: where to? Here are some tips.
You can live in Phoenix, Arizona where…..
- You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.
- You can attend any function wearing shorts and a tank top.
- You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.
- The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
You can live in California where…
- You make over $250,000 and you still can’t afford to buy a house.
- The high school quarterback calls a time-out to answer his cell phone.
- The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
You can live in New York City where…
- You say “the city” and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.
- You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can’t find Wisconsin on a map.
- You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.
- You’ve worn out a car horn.
You can live in Maine where…
- You have more than one recipe for moose.
- Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
- The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.
You can live in the Deep South where…
- “y’all” is singular and “all y’all” is plural.
- After five years you still hear, “Y’all ain’t from ‘ round here, are Y’all?”
- “He needed killin’” is a valid defense.
You can live in Colorado where…
- You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.
- You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home and he stops at the day care center.
- The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.
You can live in the Midwest where…
- You’ve never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
- Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.
- You have had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” on the same day.
OR you can live in Florida where…
- You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
- All purchases include a coupon of some kind — even houses and cars.
- Cars in front of you are often driven by headless people
[FYI: I am not relocating. IGP]
A very prestigious wealthy man and his wife were having dinner at a very fine restaurant when this absolutely stunning young woman comes over to their table, gives the husband a big open mouthed kiss, then says she’ll see him later and walks away.
The wife glares at her husband and says, “Who was that?”
“Oh,” replies the husband, “she’s my mistress.”
Well, that’s the last straw,” says the wife. “I’ve had enough. I want a divorce!”
“I can understand that,” replies her husband, “but remember if we get a divorce, it will mean no more shopping trips to Paris, no more wintering in Barbados, no more summers in Tuscany, no more Jaguar in the garage and no more yacht club. But the decision is yours.”
Just then, a colleague of the husband enters the restaurant with a gorgeous babe on his arm.
“Who’s that woman with Matt?” asks the wife.
“That’s his mistress,” says her husband.
“Ours is prettier,” she replies