From The Rabbi’s Study…Shabbat October 30, 2020/12 Cheshvan 5781
Torah:Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) Haftarah (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)
The Torah summary is quite long…
Abram is called to leave his family and city of Haran in Mesopotamia. G-d appears to Abram in Canaan and tells him this land will be assigned to him and his heirs. There was a famine in Canaan, Abram goes to Egypt, and for a time lives there. Abram separates from his nephew Lot by remaining in the land of Canaan, while Lot journeys eastward, ultimately settling near the wicked city of Sodom. Lot becomes involved in a war with enemy chieftains, and Abram comes to Lot’s rescue. G-d makes a covenant in which G-d promises him that Canaan shall be the land of the generations of Hebrews to come. Abram and his wife Sari have no children, he takes Hagar too as wife and with her bears a child named Ishmael. (ancient times a man can have more than one wife, however the first wife is the primary woman that the lineage comes from. The issues from the other wives are minor.) G-d makes a covenant (requiring circumcision of every male on the eighth day) with Abram, whose name is changed to Abraham, meaning “father of a multitude of nations.” G-d changes Sari’s name to Sarah, meaning “princess”, and she is told that she will bear a son. Abraham circumcises himself in his ninety-ninth year, while his son Ishmael is circumcised at age thirteen.
SO, why is the parsha/chapter title Lekh Lekha, “get you out” means “for your pleasures and for good.” G-d will show you and HE explains that Abraham will not only enjoy the new land in which he is to settle, but that he will realize that it is to his personal benefit to settle there.
In our own personal lives it would be beneficial for us to pursue that which is of advantage
to our moral and spiritual growth,in the knowledge that must strive at only such striving leads to true health, wealth, and joy.
Peace is a value toward which humanity (Shalom). In 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 since strife and confrontation are forbidden even among strangers, how much more ought we to 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 the mitzvah, 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 we are obliged to seek peace and to pursue it (Numbers Rabbah 19:27).
As the National election draws to a close next week, may both sides find peace, comfort and acceptance of the outcome. Praying peace will surely come to all.