Parashat Lech L’cha: Genesis 12:1 to 17:27

Week of 10/27/23

Our Torah portion begins to trace the saga of the Israelite monotheists, who enter into a covenant with the Eternal, and thus are given special promises for their future prosperity.

Lech L’cha traces the story of Avram and Sarai, our first patriarch and matriarch, who become Avraham and Sarah when they enter into covenant with God. When we meet Avram, he is already a grown man, living in Haran, somewhere north of the Euphrates valley in Mesopotamia. We don’t know how he came to understand the existence of the ineffable God. All the stories we tell our children about Avram smashing the idols and forsaking pagan practices are based on rabbinic legends. The Torah is focused on laying the foundations of the divine promises to Abraham as part of God’s share of the covenant agreement. The three basic promises are: Abraham will become a great nation with a profound reputation; Abraham and his descendants will be given the land of Canaan as an eternal inheritance, and Abraham’s descendants will be numberless. These three promises are interwoven with many unusual stories about life in Canaan and Egypt.

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