Torah Study

sefer torahWeekly Torah Study is Saturday morning at 9:00 am. We meet in the Room 202 of Temple B’rith Kodesh (enter by Door A).  We decide year by year how we’ll approach the weekly portion.  Last year we used the weekly d’var Torah from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks as a jumping off point.  This year, we’re going to consider each parsha from a Mussar perspective.  Each week an email is sent out (usually on Thursday) to anyone who may be interested.  You’re welcome on Saturday, whether or not you got the email or had time to read it.  Discussions are generally lively.

Parshat Lech Lecha

Bereishit 12:1
The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Midrash Tanchuma, Lech Lecha 3
The Holy One, blessed be He, did not mention any specific place. This indicates that this was a trial within a trial, as in the case of a man who embarks upon a journey without being aware of the destination.

Aidan Steinsaltz
The parasha begins with a trial. Commenting on this trial and on similar trials throughout Genesis, our sages say, “The experiences of the patriarchs prefigure the history of their descendants” (Tanchuma, Lekh Lekha 9; Nachmanides). Because of this, it is important for us to understand what a trial is and what it means to withstand a trial. … Abraham … is our exemplar; we attempt to emulate his conduct, following his path in the process of building our character.
…Abraham is required to sever — albeit gradually and progressively — all of the ties between him and other people, between him and things that he is connected and close to.
…he must leave his home and family, and separate from his friends and relatives and from everything with which he is familiar. … Abraham must detach himself from all the components of his life and personality.

It is very difficult to accept the idea that one must proceed without a destination. … to go without a destination, to “a land that I will show you,” means to go without the anticipation of arriving at a certain place.
This trial is a personal dilemma faced not only by Abraham. It exists in many spheres …

During you life, have you had similar trials — the challenge to move onward, without a clear destination?

Bereishit 17:1
“I am El Shaddai. Walk in My ways [alternate trans: Walk before me] and be blameless.”

Aidan Steinsaltz
…when God says to Abraham, “Walk before Me,” in effect He is saying: “Clear your own path: find your own way. You have no assurances.”
“Walk before Me” is a life problem. There is an aspect of Abraham in each one of us, and each one of us faces the same situation that Abraham faced. Sometimes, one stands to lose everything for the sake of walking on God’s path. … Naturally, one prefers that everything have some quantifiable end, at which one could state that he has become a little more holy. But God promises nothing of the sort; He just wants us to start walking …
The command to “go forth” is not only an instruction, but a description of how a person should go forward in life. We learn from Abraham that this is the way one must proceed …

Rabbi Yehudah Leib, Alter of Ger, Sefer Emet
Now surely each person was created for a particular purpose. There must be something that we are to set right. … By properly mending our deeds, we can come to hear more and more. The hasid serves God in order to become attached to the root of the mitzvah, ever seeking to hear new things. … “Get you from your land, your birthplace, and your father’s house.” In this way we attain a new enlightenment …

Whoever stands still is not renewed.

Do you agree? If so, in what ways do you need to move onward?

Rabbi Leib retells the following parable:

Midrash Rabbah Bereishit 39:1
Hashem said to Abram, “Go you forth from your land…” Rabbi Yitzchak said: this may be compared to a man who was traveling from place to place when he saw a castle in flames. He said, “Is it possible that this castle lacks a person to look after it?” The owner of the building looked out and said, ” I am the owner of the castle.” Similarly, because Abraham our father said, “Is it possible that this castle has no guide, no one to look after it?,” the Holy Blessed One looked out and said to him, “I am the Master of the Universe.” … Hence, God said to Avraham, Lech Lecha.

For the Alter of Ger, the meaning of the parable is that we must give up our attachments to things of the world. By doing so, we become more strongly connected to God. We must “forget and remember.” Rabbi Isaiah Horovitz sees the parable as a response to the apparent meaninglessness and suffering in the world (“the castle is burning”). Abraham sees the world as meaningless and God announces Himself and says Lech Lecha. But how is Lech Lecha a response to that experience of alienation?

 

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Torah Study Archive

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August 20, 2018 by Office
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July 12, 2018 by Office
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July 7, 2018 by Office
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July 6, 2018 by Office
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June 30, 2018 by Office
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The fox and the lion
June 14, 2018 by Office
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The spies of Moses carrying grapes
June 7, 2018 by Office
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cucumber salad
May 31, 2018 by Office
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Samson
May 24, 2018 by Office
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desert
May 17, 2018 by Office
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Overloaded donkey collapsed under burden
May 10, 2018 by Office
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vineyard ready for harvest
May 3, 2018 by Office
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gleaners in a wheat field
April 26, 2018 by Office
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legs with vasculitis
April 19, 2018 by Office
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Two priests are destroyed
April 12, 2018 by Office
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Fire
March 22, 2018 by Office
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Shabbat table layed with Challah, wine, candles and flowers
March 6, 2018 by Office
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The Tent of Meeting with the cloud hanging over it
March 6, 2018 by Office
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Apis bull
March 1, 2018 by Office
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Garments of the Priests and Levites
February 22, 2018 by Office
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The Tabernacle in the Wilderness
February 15, 2018 by Office
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Cartoon image of one woman whispering into another's ear. The listener has wide eyes.
February 8, 2018 by Office
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The giving of the Ten Commandments
February 1, 2018 by Office
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The parting of the sea
January 24, 2018 by Office
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Slaves building pyramids
January 19, 2018 by Office
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Darkness fell on Egypt
January 11, 2018 by Office
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Moses at the burning bush
January 5, 2018 by Office
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Jacob giving his blessing to his descendants
December 28, 2017 by Office
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Joseph reconciles with his brothers
December 22, 2017 by Office
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Joseph interprets Pharoh's dream
December 14, 2017 by Office
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Joseph dreams of wheat
December 8, 2017 by Office
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Jacob wrestles with the angel
November 29, 2017 by Office
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Jacob and his sheep
November 24, 2017 by Office
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Isaac feeling the hands of Jacob on his deathbed.
November 16, 2017 by Office
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Sarah and Eliezer at the well
November 9, 2017 by Office
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Welcome mat
November 2, 2017 by Office
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Lech Lecha
October 26, 2017 by Office
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Beatuiful sukkah
October 5, 2017 by Office
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Mother donkey and foal
August 31, 2017 by Office
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Judge Judy receiving a file from her bailiff
August 24, 2017 by Office
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Family harvesting fruit
August 17, 2017 by Office
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What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God? Micha 6:8
August 10, 2017 by Office
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The Golden Calf
August 3, 2017 by Office
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The fall of the second temple
July 27, 2017 by Office
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The Israelites Encamped at Mt. Sinai
July 20, 2017 by Office
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Daughters of Zelophead
July 13, 2017 by Office
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Man riding a donkey toward some mountains
July 7, 2017 by Office
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Moses striking the rock
June 29, 2017 by Office
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desert
June 23, 2017 by Office
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grasshopper
June 15, 2017 by Office
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gossip
June 9, 2017 by Office
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Samson slayed 1000 men
June 1, 2017 by Office
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woman begging
May 18, 2017 by Office
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Leaving the corners of the field
May 11, 2017 by Office
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You should be holy, for I, the Lord Your God, am holy. Leviticus 19: 2
May 4, 2017 by Office
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isolated figure
April 28, 2017 by Office
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Egg packaging with kosher label
April 21, 2017 by Office
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Priest at the altar
April 13, 2017 by Office
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Custom made jacket marked with tailor's chalk and basting
April 6, 2017 by Office
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Calm path with side-lighting
March 31, 2017 by Office
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The Mishkan
March 26, 2017 by Office
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The High Priest
March 10, 2017 by Office
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Crossing the Reed Sea
February 9, 2017 by Office
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The second plague of Egypt
February 2, 2017 by Office
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Parshat vaera
January 26, 2017 by Office
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Moses and the daughters of Midian
January 20, 2017 by Office
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Jacob blessing Joseph's sons
January 12, 2017 by Office
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Joseph reveals himself to his brothers
January 5, 2017 by Office
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Joseph interprets Pharoh's dream
December 29, 2016 by Office
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Joseph's coat being shown to Jacob
December 22, 2016 by Office
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Jacob meets Esau
December 15, 2016 by Office
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Jacob deceives Isaac
December 8, 2016 by Office
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Burial of Sarah
November 25, 2016 by Office
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Abraham's tent
November 18, 2016 by Office
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Lech Lecha--Going out
November 16, 2016 by Office
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The drunkenness of Noah
November 3, 2016 by Office
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Jealousy, by Edvard Munch
October 27, 2016 by Office
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Guitar at sunrise
October 13, 2016 by Office
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The Israelites ready to cross into the promised land
October 5, 2016 by Office
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Sunset over a valley with a meandering river
September 29, 2016 by Office
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birch bark showing the shape of a heart
September 14, 2016 by Office
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Your word is hour bond, so take them seriously
August 17, 2016 by Office
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elderly man on a scooter
August 17, 2016 by Office
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flamingo amongst swans
July 7, 2016 by Office
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Scary giant
June 30, 2016 by Office
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sparrow pelted by snow
June 30, 2016 by Office
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