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Parshat Lech-Lecha


5761 Avraham was the first Jew. He is called ‘Avinu’ (lit. Our father), because we inherited our ‘Jewishness’ from him and only from him we can learn what a Jew really is.

In the beginning of this week’s section G-d tells Avraham (at that time his name was Avram) to go out of his Land, his birthplace, and the house of his father, in other words; out of the categories of Nation, race and religion.

5762 This week's section tells us of G-d's eternal covenant (Bris) with the first Jew, Abraham, thus marking the beginning the Jewish people. But it arouses a big question. G-d swore to Abraham that his seed would inherit the Promised Land, and be as multitudinous as the dust of the earth and the stars of the sky. But later in the Torah when G-d defines exactly who these offspring are, it doesn't sound so promising:
5763 This week we are introduced to the founder and ‘Father’ of Judaism: Abraham. But at first glance it’s not understood exactly what he founded.
5764 In this week's section we read about how Judaism was founded. G-d promised Avram (later known as Avraham) greatness, fame, fortune and more if he would leave his home and go to the promised land …… and then G-d seemingly reneged on His promises!
5765 This week we read about how Abraham founded the Jewish people and received the commandment of circumcision.

At first glance it is not so clear what is going on here; The Bible is supposed to be a spiritual, religious book, why is it concerned with these mundane things?

5766 The end of this week's portion tells us about the Covenant (Brit) of Circumcision that G-d made with Abraham almost four thousand years ago.
5767 In this week's Torah portion we learn about nine of the ten trials G-d tested Abraham with (Pirkei Avot 5:3) in order to make him the first Jew. One of the most difficult of them was circumcising himself, at the age of ninety nine! [After seeing many circumcisions of older Jews I can't imagine how Abraham could have performed such a major operation on himself.]
5768 This week we read about Abraham, the father of Judaism. This story is, at first glance, very confusing and a bit disappointing. Abraham did no miracles, delivered no impressive sermons, promised no everlasting salvation or bliss and didn't even have a following.
5769 This weeks Torah portion begins with G-d telling Avraham to leave home and ends with G-d commanding him to circumcise himself. Abraham was the first Jew and the first man to enter the covenant (Brit) of circumcision with G-d.
5770 This week we read about Abraham the first Jew. But at first glance it is not so clear what exactly this means. There seems to be no clear explanation in the Torah as to exactly what made him a Jew or what exactly a Jew is!
5772 This week we read the first harrowing chapters in the life of Abram; the Father of Judaism.
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