Parshah and Haftorah for Lech Lecha (לֶךְ-לְךָ), Hebrew “Lech Lecha” =”go!” or “leave!” or “go for you,” the fifth and sixth words in the parshah Lech Lecha, Genesis 12:1-17:27, to be read on Chesvan 5-11, 5779 a.k.a., Oct 14-20, 2018.
Parshah In a Nutshell for Lech Lecha
G*d speaks to Abram, commanding him, “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” There, G*d says, he will be made into a great nation. Abram and his wife, Sarai, accompanied by his nephew Lot, journey to the land of Canaan, where Abram builds an altar and continues to spread the message of a one G*d.
A famine forces the first Jew to depart for Egypt, where beautiful Sarai is taken to Pharaoh’s palace; Abram escapes death because they present themselves as brother and sister. A plague prevents the Egyptian king from touching her, and convinces him to return her to Abram and to compensate the brother-revealed-as-husband with gold, silver and cattle.
Back in the land of Canaan, Lot separates from Abram and settles in the evil city of Sodom, where he falls captive when the mighty armies of Chedorlaomer and his three allies conquer the five cities of the Sodom Valley. Abram sets out with a small band to rescue his nephew, defeats the four kings, and is blessed by Malki-Zedek the king of Salem (Jerusalem).
G*d seals the Covenant Between the Parts with Abram, in which the exile and persecution (galut) of the people of Israel is foretold, and the Holy Land is bequeathed to them as their eternal heritage.
Still childless ten years after their arrival in the Land, Sarai tells Abram to marry her maidservant Hagar. Hagar conceives, becomes insolent toward her mistress, and then flees when Sarai treats her harshly; an angel convinces her to return, and tells her that her son will father a populous nation. Ishmael is born in Abram’s eighty-sixth year.
Thirteen years later, G*d changes Abram’s name to Abraham (“father of multitudes”), and Sarai’s to Sarah (“princess”), and promises that a son will be born to them; from this child, whom they should call Isaac (“will laugh”), will stem the great nation with which G*d will establish His special bond. Abraham is commanded to circumcise himself and his descendants as a “sign of the covenant between Me and you.” Abraham immediately complies, circumcising himself and all the males of his household.
Parshah reading for Lech Lecha
1. And the L*rd said to Abram, “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. 2. And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing. 3. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.” 4. And Abram went, as the L*rd had spoken to him, and Lot went with him, and Abram was seventy five years old when he left Haran. 5. And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had acquired, and the souls they had acquired in Haran, and they went to go to the land of Canaan, and they came to the land of Canaan. 6. And Abram passed through the land, until the place of Shechem, until the plain of Moreh, and the Canaanites were then in the land. 7. And the L*rd appeared to Abram, and He said, “To your seed I will give this land,” and there he built an altar to the L*rd, Who had appeared to him. 8. And he moved from there to the mountain, east of Beth el, and he pitched his tent; Beth el was to the west and Ai was to the east, and there he built an altar to the L*rd, and he called in the name of the L*rd. 9. And Abram traveled, continually traveling southward. 10. And there was a famine in the land, and Abram descended to Egypt to sojourn there because the famine was severe in the land. 11. Now it came to pass when he drew near to come to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Behold now I know that you are a woman of fair appearance. 12. And it will come to pass when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ and they will slay me and let you live. 13. Please say [that] you are my sister, in order that it go well with me because of you, and that my soul may live because of you.”
14. And it came to pass when Abram came to Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very pretty. 15. And Pharaoh’s princes saw her, and they praised her to Pharaoh, and the woman was taken to the house of Pharaoh. 16. And he benefited Abram for her sake, and he had flocks and cattle and he donkeys and men servants and maid servants, and she donkeys and camels. 17. And the L*rd plagued Pharaoh [with] great plagues as well as his household, on account of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18. And Pharaoh summoned Abram, and he said, “What is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19. Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to myself for a wife? And now, here is your wife; take [her] and go.” 20. And Pharaoh commanded men on his behalf, and they escorted him and his wife and all that was his.
1. And Abram came up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that was his, and Lot with him, to the south. 2. And Abram was very heavy with cattle, with silver, and with gold. 3. And he went on his journeys, from the south and until Beth el, until the place where his tent had been previously, between Beth el and between Ai. 4. To the place of the altar that he had made at first, and Abram called there in the name of the L*rd.
5. And also Lot, who went with Abram, had flocks and cattle and tents. 6. And the land did not bear them to dwell together, for their possessions were many, and they could not dwell together. 7. And there was a quarrel between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and between the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle, and the Canaanites and the Perizzites were then dwelling in the land. 8. And Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no quarrel between me and between you and between my herdsmen and between your herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. 9. Is not all the land before you? Please part from me; if [you go] left, I will go right, and if [you go] right, I will go left.” 10. And Lot raised his eyes, and he saw the entire plain of the Jordan, that it was entirely watered; before the L*rd destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of the L*rd, like the land of Egypt, as you come to Zoar. 11. And Lot chose for himself the entire plain of the Jordan, and Lot traveled from the east, and they parted from one another. 12. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain, and he pitched his tents until Sodom. 13. And the people of Sodom were very evil and sinful against the L*rd. 14. And the L*rd said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Please raise your eyes and see, from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward. 15. For all the land that you see I will give to you and to your seed to eternity. 16. And I will make your seed like the dust of the earth, so that if a man will be able to count the dust of the earth, so will your seed be counted. 17. Rise, walk in the land, to its length and to its breadth, for I will give it to you.” 18. And Abram pitched his tents, and he came, and he dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the L*rd.
1. Now it came to pass in the days of Amraphel the king of Shinar, Arioch the king of Ellasar, Chedorloemer the king of Elam, and Tidal the king of Goyim. 2. That they waged war with Bera the king of Sodom and with Birsha the king of Gomorrah, Shineab the king of Admah, and Shemeber the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3. All these joined in the valley of Siddim, which is the Dead Sea. 4. For twelve years they served Chedorloemer, and for thirteen years they rebelled. 5. And in the fourteenth year, Chedorloemer came, and the kings who were with him, and they smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh kiriathaim. 6. And the Horites in their mountain Seir, until the plain of Paran, which is alongside the desert. 7. And they returned and came to Ein Mishpat, which is Kadesh, and they smote the entire field of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon Tamar. 8. And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar, came forth, and they engaged them in battle in the valley of Siddim. 9. With Chedorloemer the king of Elam and Tidal the king of Goyim and Amraphel the king of Shinar and Arioch the king of Ellasar, four kings against the five. 10. Now the valley of Siddim was [composed of] many clay pits, and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled and they fell there, and the survivors fled to a mountain. 11. And they took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food, and they departed. 12. And they took Lot and his possessions, the son of Abram’s brother, and they departed, and he was living in Sodom. 13. And the fugitive came and he told Abram the Hebrew, and he was living in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshkol and the brother of Aner, who were Abram’s confederates. 14. And Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, and he armed his trained men, those born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and he pursued [them] until Dan. 15. And he divided himself against them at night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them until Hobah, which is to the left of Damascus. 16. And he restored all the possessions, and also Lot his brother and his possessions he restored, and also the women and the people. 17. And the king of Sodom came out toward him, after his return from smiting Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, to the valley of Shaveh, which is the valley of the king. 18. And Malchizedek the king of Salem brought out bread and wine, and he was a priest to the Most High G*d. 19. And he blessed him, and he said, “Blessed be Abram to the Most High G*d, Who possesses heaven and earth. 20. And blessed be the Most High G*d, Who has delivered your adversaries into your hand,” and he gave him a tithe from all.
21. And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the souls, and the possessions take for yourself.” 22. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand to the L*rd, the Most High G*d, Who possesses heaven and earth. 23. Neither from a thread to a shoe strap, nor will I take from whatever is yours, that you should not say, ‘I have made Abram wealthy.’ 24. Exclusive of what the lads ate, and the share of the men who went with me; Aner, Eshkol, and Mamre they shall take their share.”
1. After these incidents, the word of the L*rd came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Fear not, Abram; I am your Shield; your reward is exceedingly great.” 2. And Abram said, “O L*rd G*d, what will You give me, since I am going childless, and the steward of my household is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3. And Abram said, “Behold, You have given me no seed, and behold, one of my household will inherit me.” 4. And behold, the word of the L*rd came to him, saying, “This one will not inherit you, but the one who will spring from your innards-he will inherit you.” 5. And He took him outside, and He said, “Please look heavenward and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So will be your seed.” 6. And he believed in the L*rd, and He accounted it to him as righteousness.
7. And He said to him, “I am the L*rd, Who brought you forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.” 8. And he said, “O L*rd G*d, how will I know that I will inherit it?” 9. And He said to him, “Take for Me three heifers and three goats and three rams, and a turtle dove and a young bird.” 10. And he took for Him all these, and he divided them in the middle, and he placed each part opposite its mate, but he did not divide the birds. 11. And the birds of prey descended upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. 12. Now the sun was ready to set, and a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and behold, a fright, a great darkness was falling upon him. 13. And He said to Abram, “You shall surely know that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave them and oppress them, for four hundred years. 14. And also the nation that they will serve will I judge, and afterwards they will go forth with great possessions. 15. But you will come to your forefathers in peace; you will be buried in a good old age. 16. And the fourth generation will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites will not be complete until then.” 17. Now it came to pass that the sun had set, and it was dark, and behold, a smoking furnace and a fire brand, which passed between these parts. 18. On that day, the L*rd formed a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt until the great river, the Euphrates river. 19. The Kenites, the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20. And the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Rephaim, 21. And the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
1. Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne to him, and she had an Egyptian handmaid named Hagar. 2. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the L*rd has restrained me from bearing; please come to my handmaid; perhaps I will be built up from her.” And Abram hearkened to Sarai’s voice. 3. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her handmaid, at the end of ten years of Abram’s dwelling in the land of Canaan, and she gave her to Abram her husband for a wife. 4. And he came to Hagar, and she conceived, and she saw that she was pregnant, and her mistress became unimportant in her eyes. 5. And Sarai said to Abram, “May my injustice be upon you! I gave my handmaid into your bosom, and she saw that she had become pregnant, and I became unimportant in her eyes. May the L*rd judge between me and you!” 6. And Abram said to Sarai, “Here is your handmaid in your hand; do to her that which is proper in your eyes.” And Sarai afflicted her, and she fled from before her. 7. And an angel of the L*rd found her by a water fountain in the desert, by the fountain on the road to Shur. 8. And he said, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where are you coming from, and where are you going to?” And she said, “From before Sarai my mistress, I am fleeing.” 9. And the angel of the L*rd said to her, “Return to your mistress, and allow yourself to be afflicted under her hands.” 10. And the angel of the L*rd said to her, “I will greatly multiply your seed, and it will not be counted for abundance.” 11. And the angel of the L*rd said to her, “Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for the L*rd has heard your affliction. 12. And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone’s hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.” 13. And she called the name of the L*rd, Who had spoken to her, “You are the G*d of seeing,” because she said, “Have I seen[him]here also after I have seen?” 14. Therefore the well was called Be’er Lachai Ro’i; behold it is between Kadesh and between Bered. 15. And Hagar bore a son to Abram, and Abram named his son, whom Hagar had borne, Ishmael. 16. And Abram was eighty- six years old, when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
1. And Abram was ninety-nine years old, and G*d appeared to Abram, and He said to him, “I am the Almighty G*d; walk before Me and be perfect. 2. And I will place My covenant between Me and between you, and I will multiply you very greatly.” 3. And Abram fell upon his face, and G*d spoke with him, saying, 4. “As for Me, behold My covenant is with you, and you shall become the father of a multitude of nations. 5. And your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings will emerge from you.
7. And I will establish My covenant between Me and between you and between your seed after you throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant, to be to you for a G*d and to your seed after you. 8. And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, the entire land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them for a G*d.” 9. And G*d said to Abraham, “And you shall keep My covenant, you and your seed after you throughout their generations. 10. This is My covenant, which you shall observe between Me and between you and between your seed after you, that every male among you be circumcised. 11. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be as the sign of a covenant between Me and between you. 12. And at the age of eight days, every male shall be circumcised to you throughout your generations, one that is born in the house, or one that is purchased with money, from any foreigner, who is not of your seed. 13. Those born in the house and those purchased for money shall be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant. 14. And an uncircumcised male, who will not circumcise the flesh of his foreskin-that soul will be cut off from its people; he has broken My covenant.” 15. And G*d said to Abraham, “Your wife Sarai-you shall not call her name Sarai, for Sarah is her name. 16. And I will bless her, and I will give you a son from her, and I will bless her, and she will become [a mother of] nations; kings of nations will be from her. ” 17. And Abraham fell on his face and rejoiced, and he said to himself, “Will [a child] be born to one who is a hundred years old, and will Sarah, who is ninety years old, give birth?” 18. And Abraham said to G*d, “If only Ishmael will live before You!” 19. And G*d said, “Indeed, your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac, and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. 20. And regarding Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I have blessed him, and I will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him exceedingly; he will beget twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” 22. And He finished speaking with him, and G*d went up from above Abraham. 23. And Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house and all those purchased with his money, every male of the people of Abraham’s household, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskin on that very day, as G*d had spoken with him. 24. And Abraham was ninety-nine years old, when he was circumcised of the flesh of his foreskin. 25. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised of the flesh of his foreskin. 26. On that very day, Abraham was circumcised, and [so was] Ishmael his son. 27. And all the people of his household, those born in his house and those bought with money from foreigners, were circumcised with him.
Haftorah In a Nutshell for Lech Lecha
The haftorah for this week discusses Abraham’s journey to the land of Canaan at G*d’s behest, and touches upon Abraham’s miraculous battle against the four kings, both of which are described in this week’s Torah reading.
The prophet Isaiah addresses Israel’s complaint: “”My way [of serving G*d] has been ignored by the L*rd, and from my G*d, my judgment passes [unrewarded].”
Isaiah reminds Israel of the Creator’s greatness. The time will come when “He will give the tired strength, and to him who has no strength, He will increase strength. Youths shall become tired and weary, and young men shall stumble, but those who put their hope in the L*rd shall renew [their] vigor, they shall raise wings as eagles; they shall run and not weary, they shall walk and not tire.” Nevertheless, “there is no comprehension of His wisdom,” and as such, at times we cannot understand why He chooses to delay the reward of the righteous.
The haftorah then turns its attention to the idolatrous nations of the world. Isaiah reminds them of Abraham’s greatness, how after arriving in Canaan he pursued and defeated four mighty kings. “The islands saw and feared; the ends of the earth quaked.” Nevertheless, the nations who witnesses these miracles did not abandon their ways. “The [idol] craftsman strengthened the smith, the one who smoothes [the idol] with the hammer strengthened the one who wields the sledge hammer; the one who glues its coating says, “It is good,” and he strengthened it with nails that it should not move…”
G*d promises the Jewish nation to reward them for their loyalty to G*d. “Do not fear for I am with you; be not discouraged for I am your G*d. . . Behold all those incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded; those who quarreled with you shall be as naught and be lost.”
Haftorah reading for Lech Lecha
Chapter Chapter 40
27. Why should you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way has been hidden from the L*rd, and from my G*d, my judgment passes”? 28. Do you not know-if you have not heard-an everlasting G*d is the L*rd, the Creator of the ends of the earth; He neither tires nor wearies; there is no fathoming His understanding. 29. Who gives the tired strength, and to him who has no strength, He increases strength. 30. Now youths shall become tired and weary, and young men shall stumble. 31. But those who put their hope in the L*rd shall renew [their] vigor, they shall raise wings as eagles; they shall run and not weary, they shall walk and not tire.
1. Be silent to Me, you islands, and kingdoms shall renew [their] strength; they shall approach, then they shall speak, together to judgment let us draw near. 2. Who aroused from the East, [the one] whom righteousness accompanied? He placed nations before him and over kings He gave him dominion; He made his sword like dust, his bow like wind-blown stubble. 3. He pursued them and passed on safely, on a path upon which he had not come with his feet. 4. Who worked and did, Who calls the generations from the beginning; I, the L*rd, am first, and with the last ones I am He. 5. The islands shall see and fear; the ends of the earth shall quake; they have approached and come. 6. Each one shall aid his fellow, and to his brother he shall say, “Strengthen yourself.” 7. And the craftsman strengthened the smith, the one who smooths with the hammer [strengthened] the one who wields the sledge hammer; he says of the cement, “It is good,” and he strengthened it with nails that it should not move. 8. But you, Israel My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, who loved Me, 9. Whom I grasped from the ends of the earth, and from its nobles I called you, and I said to you, “You are My servant”; I chose you and I did not despise you. 10. Do not fear for I am with you; be not discouraged for I am your G*d: I encouraged you, I also helped you, I also supported you with My righteous hand. 11. Behold all those incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded; those who quarreled with you shall be as nought and be lost. 12. You may seek them but not find them, those who quarrel with you; those who war with you shall be as nought and as nothing. 13. For I, the L*rd your G*d, grasp your right hand; Who says to you, “Fear not, I help you.” 14. Fear not, O worm of Jacob, the number of Israel; “I have helped you,” says the L*rd, and your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15. Behold I have made you a new grooved threshing-sledge, with sharp points; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them fine, and you shall make hills like chaff. 16. You shall winnow them, and a wind shall carry them off, and a tempest shall scatter them, and you shall rejoice with the L*rd, with the Holy One of Israel shall you praise yourself.