The Many Qualities of Abram

The Many Qualities of Abram

Oct 12, 2007 By Daniel Nevins | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

Abram in the light; Abram in the dark. Abram with men at war; Abram with women at war.

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A Palace in Flames

A Palace in Flames

Oct 27, 2012 By Andrew Shugerman | Commentary | Text Study | Lekh Lekha

What inspires one to leave home, to embrace mystery, to seek insight into the nature of our world? 

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Woody Allen’s Torah

Woody Allen’s Torah

Oct 12, 2010 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

The brilliance of Allen’s film arises from his portrayal of the ethical corruption of each of his characters and the extent to which he plays on the sense of sight. Ironically, the ophthalmologist, who specializes in physical sight, is corrupted by ethical blindness, while the rabbi, who represents morality, is physically going blind. Indeed, the juxtaposition of sight and insight figure prominently in both Allen’s film and this week’s parashah, Lekh Lekha. By focusing our exegetical lenses on the parting of ways between Avram and Lot (Gen. 13), we discover not only a physical separation between the two characters, but also a spiritual and ethical divide that cuts to the very core of their world views.

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The Power of the Epithet

The Power of the Epithet

Oct 23, 2004 By JTS Alumni | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

By Rabbi Benjamin Kramer

I had the privilege to spend last year studying Bible with Dr. Walter Herzberg. One of the many things I learned from him is the power of the epithet as a point of departure for a close reading of the Biblical text – especially their capacity to inform us about relationships between characters. I was given pause to reflect upon this lesson as I was reading Parashat Lek Lekha, and thinking about the evolution of the relationship between Abraham and Lot. I realized that I had probably always failed to understand the dynamics of their relationship because I had failed to understand Lot. 

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Patriarchs and Matriarchs

Patriarchs and Matriarchs

Nov 8, 2003 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

The central prayer of Jewish prayers, the Amidah, begins by identifying to whom one is praying: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. This identification serves not only to say who God is, but also to specify who the Jews are: the descendants of those patriarchs. At the same time, the Jews are also descendants of the matriarchs, and here’s the rub: though God’s promises are recorded in the Torah as given to the men, they would not have been achieved without the women.

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The Lonely and Crowded Path of Monotheism

The Lonely and Crowded Path of Monotheism

Oct 19, 2002 By Lewis Warshauer | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

Most Jews have the feeling that Jews are different, to a greater or lesser extent, from the other peoples of the world. Jews have long had a sense of separation from the rest of the world, yet togetherness with each other. Most Jews will say, in response to the question of who was the first Jew, that it was Abraham. It then follows that in order to get a better sense of what makes Jews different from other people­ which is another way of asking what Jewish identity consists of ­ that one needs to look at Abraham, and particularly as his career begins in this week’s parashah.

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Connecting to an Ancient Text

Connecting to an Ancient Text

Oct 31, 2009 By Daniel Nevins | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

A wondrous quality of Torah study is that you can link the parashah to nearly any time, place, or subject. This puzzle is enjoyed by rabbis every week—how can I connect the ancient text to our contemporary context? I embrace this challenge, yet sometimes it makes me wonder: how much are we gleaning from the text, and how much are we interpolating?

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God As an Ally

God As an Ally

Oct 9, 2013 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

A journey of four thousand years begins with God’s command to Abraham.

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