Weekly Torah Portion: Vayeira (Genesis 18:1 – 22:24)


In this Torah portion, three guests arrive at Abraham and Sarah’s tent. They inform Abraham that God will give the elderly Sarah a child. The prophecy comes true, and they name their son Isaac. God informs Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah will be destroyed, though Abraham attempts to convince God otherwise. God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham obliges but is told that it was a test of faith and offers a ram to sacrifice instead. Read an extensive summary on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“How blessed is our congregation that welcoming the stranger and providing hospitality to all is one of our most treasured values?” – Rabbi Lisa in 2014. Read the full drash

“Each year when I get my new Jewish calendar, the first thing I check is when the holidays are…” – Maggie (Parkhurst) Anton in 2004. Read the full drash

“Bikur Cholim is one of the first acts divine and human kindness that we can do ourselves. Perhaps now more than ever, we need added blessings in our days…” – Rabbinic Intern Sharon Gladstone in 2001. Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

And God said to him [Abimelech] in the dream, “I knew that you did this with a blameless heart, and so I kept you from sinning against Me. That was why I did not let you touch her.” (Genesis 20:6; Parashat Vayera)

Other Suggested Readings

“Every year, I am drawn to this phrase, “opened her eyes” (Genesis 21:18) and what it suggests. If her eyes only needed to be opened, then maybe there was something to be seen that she just wasn’t seeing? The text doesn’t say that God placed a well in front of her, the text says that “God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” This phrase always suggests to me that there are always more possibilities available if we could only open our eyes and see them.” Read from Leah Zimmerman’s Experiencing Torah blog

Parashat Vayera centers on a phenomenal moment in Jewish tradition: the negotiation between God and Abraham about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Read from our Telephone Torah Study archives

Biblical stories often form prototypical frameworks that define and shape later Jewish behaviors. The hospitality of Abraham and Sarah in Parashat Vayeira, for example, becomes for later commentators the quintessential moment that defines how Jews ought to welcome their guests. Read on Reform Judaism website


*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by the Torah class during Tuesdays’ studies with Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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