Weekly Torah Portion: Lech-Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)


God makes a covenant with Abram promising to make his ancestors a great nation. God changes his name to Abraham. Abraham has a child with Hagar, and names him Ishmael. God then promises Abraham’s barren wife, Sarah, that she will have a child. Read an extensive summary on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“‘No, honey. All my life…my whole life, I’ve been dressing up like a man. This is me,’ says the 70 year old transwoman, Maura, in my new favorite TV show, Transparent, who finally, after decades of knowing, decides to be ‘me,’ no matter the consequences…” – Rabbi Lisa in 2014. Read the full drash

“The year was 1874, a 14 year old boy somehow slipped onto a passenger freighter at the dock un-noticed. The ship was one of those newer ones, powered by steam engine, but with a set of back up sails just in case the engine would fail. Steam puffing from the chimneys, the anchor was being hoisted up, it was ready to leave port.” – Davi Cheng in 2009. Read the drash

“Post Prop 8 Obama Krystallnacht ” – by Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2008. Read

“That insight is the legacy of Abraham and Sarah, far more than their DNA. In spite of a vagrant life and decades of infertility, they knew they weren’t helpless in the grip of fate. They had the courage to get out there and make a fresh start.” – Joe Hample, Rabbinic Intern in 2007. Read the full drash

Verse of the Week

“[God said to Abraham]: As for Me, behold My covenant is with you, and you shall become the father of a multitude of nations.” (Parashat Lech-lecha; Genesis 17:4)

Other Suggested Readings

Lech L’cha sets Abram and Sarai (later known as Abraham and Sarah) on their great adventure. Jewish songwriter and singer Debbie Friedman, may her name be for a blessing, made the verse even more famous with her hit song L’Chi Lach. Listen to the song on Telephone Torah Study archives

‘Extinguishing the Flames’ a Torah Queery by David Katzenelson. David lives in Haifa, where he has worked at Or Hadash – The Center for Progressive Judaism. Read the queery

‘Women and the Covenant: How women figure into the male-oriented covenant that begins with Abraham and circumcision’ by Rabbi Ruth H. Sohn in The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. Read on My Jewish Learning

When have you embarked on a experience that led you not only towards a destination or goal but to a discovery about yourself as well? Read from Leah Zimmerman’s Experiencing Torah

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