Our portion continues the story of Abraham as he establishes the foundation for the Jewish nation. Having circumcised himself at God’s command, he now encounters three visitors as he recuperates. Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed in this portion, and Abraham and Sarah find themselves sojourning in Gerar. The birth of Isaac is recorded in this portion, and Ishmael is forced to leave. Abraham signs a peace treaty, and finally, the portion ends with the binding of Isaac.
Topic 1: The Angels' VisitAs Abraham is enjoying a visit from God following his own circumcision, he sees three men in the distance. Eager to share his hospitality, he begs the men to stop a while in his shelter, and prepares them a lavish meal. The three men have news for Abraham. They tell him that in a year’s… Read More »
Topic 2: Sodom and GomorrahGod decides that Abraham is such a faithful servant, He will not hide His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah from him. Abraham’s immediate reaction upon hearing the news is to beg God for mercy: would He spare the city if there are 50 righteous individuals therein? How about 45? 40? 30? 20? Even just… Read More »
Topic 3: Abraham in GerarAbraham now moves on to settle briefly in Gerar. There, he continues the charade of Egypt, telling others the beautiful Sarah is his sister, not his wife. Like before, she is taken by the king of the land, a man named Abimelech. God sends Abimelech a dream in which He tells the king to return… Read More »
Topic 4: A Tale of Two SonsThe Torah now relates the birth of Isaac, long-awaited son to Abraham and Sarah. Named for the laughter of joy his birth elicited in his father, Isaac is circumcised at eight days old, just as God commanded Abraham. As he grows, however, his mother becomes concerned about the influence his half-brother, Ishmael, might have on… Read More »
Topic 5: The Binding of IsaacAfter all that has happened, God chooses to test Abraham. He tells him to take his only, beloved son, Isaac, and raise him up as an offering on a mountain which He will show him. Abraham takes Isaac, some servants, supplies and the donkey, and heads out early to fulfil God’s wishes. After three… Read More »