G-d promises Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. Abraham was very wealthy and had everything, except a child. So despite the promises, Abraham feared he may be the first and last Jewish person. At the age of ninety, Abrahams’s wife, Sarah, gives birth to a son. They name him Isaac, meaning 'laughter'. But Abraham was to be given a huge test.
After reading Lech Lecha, we understand that Avraham had worked out his understanding of, and belief in, God from his own empirical observations and intuition.
Avraham’s belief led him to have complete faith in God’s omnipotence and commands, such that he was prepared to leave his home and family for an unknown destination. However, in Vayera, we find Avraham, who now had one son by Hagar, and was soon to have another by Sara, striving to make sense of his own relationship with God.
In this week’s sidra, we read about Avraham having had a Brit Milah (circumcision) at an old age, and sitting at the entrance of his tent, look for guests to provide hospitality to. When 3 angels came along, disguised as men, Avraham ran to greet them and prepared a lavish meal for them. We learn many items of hospitality from this episode.
Some years ago there was a television programme entitled “The Vision Thing”. It was a political satire about the Conservative Party leadership, although the phrase itself was first used dismissively by George Bush Snr when he was Ronald Reagan’s Vice President. Our Sedra today is also about “the vision thing”, and I want to focus my remarks upon the remarkable way in which concepts of vision pervade the text.
In this week’s Sidrah we learn of the story of Avraham going to Gerar and telling the people of the town that Sarah was his sister, rather than his wife, otherwise he feared that they would kill him, in order to take Sarah as a wife for the king, Avimelech. When Avimelech questions why Avraham lied, Avraham answered with the following statement ‘for I thought, only there is no fear of G-d in this place’. What kind of answer is this?
The first story in today’s Sidra describes the visit of three angels to Abraham. They appeared to him as three idolatrous Arab men. Despite their unfamiliar appearance, Abraham warmly invited them into his tent and gave them a delicious meal. Abraham’s amazing kindness towards them has become a most important story in our religion, because it teaches us that the only way we can have influence on other people and bring them under the wings of the divine presence is through acts of kindness.
In this week’s Sedra, we learn of the hospitality that Avraham showed to three guests, travelling through the desert. It is quite remarkable that Avraham showed such a tremendous amount of hospitality to these guests, who he assumed were idol worshippers. However, what is even more remarkable is the fact that Avraham was recuperating from his Brit Milah. From this episode, we learn of the importance that Judasim places on Gemilut Chasadim (loving kindness).
Negotiation is a necessary part of our lives. Negotiation helps to ward off problems and we should not miss any chance to negotiate. But negotiation must be spontaneous and come from the heart with sincere efforts and not on compulsion. ‘Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate’ said John F Kennedy. But how many of us could dare to negotiate with God, as Abraham does in this Sedra over the destruction of S’dom.
In this week’s Sedra, we learn of the hospitality that Avraham showed to 3 guests, travelling through the desert. It is quite remarkable that Avraham showed such a tremendous amount of hospitality to these guests, who he assumed were idol worshippers. However, what is even more remarkable is the fact that Avraham was recuperating from his Brit Milah.