Torah: Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) Haftarah: (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)
The Torah continues the Jewish people’s history with Abram is called from G-d to leave his family and the city of Haran in Mesopotamia. G-d appears to Abram in Canaan and tells him that this land will be assigned to him and his heirs. There was a famine in Canaan and Abram goes to Egypt to live for a short time. Abram separates from his nephew Lot by remaining in the land of Canaan, while Lot travels eastward, ultimately settling near the wicked city of Sodom. Lot becomes involved in a war with the chieftains, and Abram comes to Lot’s rescue. G-d makes a covenant with Abram in which G-d promises him that Canaan shall be the land of generations of Hebrews to come. While Sarai, Abram’s wife had no children, he takes Hagar too as his wife and with her bears a child named Ishmael. G-d makes a covenant, which requires circumcision of every male on the eighth day with Abram, whose name is now changed to Abraham. (meaning “father of a multitude of nations.”) G-d changes Sarai’s name to Sarah (meaning “princess”, and she is told that she will bear a son. Abraham circumcised himself in his ninety-ninth year, while his son Ishmael was circumcised at age thirteen.
Today with all the Anti-Semitism and Pro Palestinian rallies and one riot yesterday at Cooper Union University, while Jewish students and other Jewish people were threatened and continue to be threatened, my drash will be: “Peace is a value toward which humanity must strive.”
This concept is from Genesis 13.8, Abraham says to his nephew Lot, “Let there be no strife, I pray you, between me and you…for we are brothers.” Our rabbis comment that strife and confrontation are forbidden even among strangers, how much more ought we try to establish peace and harmony between ourselves, our families, relatives, and friends. (cf. Genesis Rabbah 41:7).
Psalms 34:13 states: “Seek peace and pursue it.” The Torah does not obligate us to pursue mitzvot, but only to fulfill them at the proper time, on the appropriate occasion. Peace, however, must be sought at all times; at home and away from home where we are obligated to seek peace and pursue it (Numbers Rabbah 19:27)
Today, granted when we (the Israeli people our brethren) were heinously attacked by the Iran backed Terrorist Hate Group, Hamas. Israel has every right to protect our people. Yes, we warn the people to leave (dropping leaflets in numerous languages) before we fully attack the barbarian enemy, Hamas in the Gaza, and now Hezbollah in the Northern areas. The Jewish people adhere to “Thou Shall NOT Kill!”, and Jews would never blow up a hospital. Please once again I will remind you not to watch the news 24/7 because this will affect your mental and physical health. Yes, tune in to hear.
Once again we are witnessing that some of the world and various people in our nation are showing their appalling Anti-Semitic vile rhetoric, and threatening the Jewish population around the world and in the USA.
Most of you know I have been teaching Judaic history for over 45 years, The Holocaust, and the History of Israel. I worked on a grant with the American Jewish communities and synagogues and the Israeli Tali schools in Jerusalem for eight years. During those years I was in Israel in 2005 when Israel removed ALL JEWISH “SETTLEMENTS *INCLUDING FARMS, WATER AND AGRICULTURAL FACILITIES. The Gazanians ruled by themselves. Two years later Fatah ruled the government until they were overthrown in a coup d’etat by the Iran backed trained terrorist hate group, Hamas. (No Israelis are governing Gaza). Once again I was working in Israel in 2009, meeting Israelis in what was considered not a safe area. When I returned a few days later to Jerusalem I called my husband, Michael, and he told me there was major rioting all over the Middle East. I watched in horror as I told him the Arabs are forming a Caliphate. So, much for the short answer.
I also met with 23 clergy the St. George Interfaith Council in my home last Friday, to have our monthly agenda, followed by my short lecture on the Middle East, and ALL asked how they can help the Jewish people. Some did not know all the facts, all were deeply concerned for our safety, and they expressed their love and support for Israel and the Jewish people.
The long answer is that without a doubt in my mind and opinion we need a huge hug and human connection. We can not stand idly by, we can Not Remain Silent and WE CAN NEVER FORGET!
Yes, we leave here and yes, horrific attacks are over there and throughout the world.
WE ARE ONE PEOPLE, ONE NATION, AM YSRAEL CHAI! LONG LIVE ISRAEL!
Please know that I will try again on Sunday to contact Nadene and David. Liza contacts her family. And yes, I have family and friends in Israel, too. One can donate to various Israeli facilities, and that shows our support and we HERE are Not idle. Our prayers are for all that are wounded and taken hostage, and prayers for those that are mourning their loved ones. We must have strength, continue our daily lives, and together we are STRONGER!
Shabbat Shalom v’Am Ysrael Chai,
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder