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Tag Archives: Abraham

Chayai Sarah — Genesis 23:1 – 25:18

Sometimes life demands a certain clinical decisiveness. In last week’s reading, this need for decisiveness was exacerbated by the heightened tensions that came to the fore in both sibling and marital rivalries. Sarah saw conflict on the horizon with her handmaiden, Hagar (aka, Keturah), vying for power in the family lineage through her son, Ishmael, […] http://bethsholomsf.org/chayai-sarah-genesis-231-2518-3/ Continue Reading...

Vayeira — Genesis 18:12–2:24

To reach the place of infinite earthly delight – that is the true destination of almost any traveler. The essentials that were once needed for any journey and are nowadays taken for granted appear to be alluded to in this week’s reading. “Abraham planted a tamarisk [eshel] at Be’er Sheva and invoked the divine name there […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayeira-genesis-1812-224/ Continue Reading...

Lech Lecha — Genesis 12:1–17:27

How often have you taken advantage of a last minute travel deal? Today, it may feel good not to know where you will travel until the very last minute; it allows you to discover some new, exotic destination at a great rate. In the ancient Near Eastern mind, however, that same sense of journeying without […] http://bethsholomsf.org/lech-lecha-genesis-121-1727-3/ Continue Reading...

“What Is Talmud Study?” Chapter Three

Henry Hollander, leader of our CBS Talmud shiur (study or lesson), is contributing regular blog posts that explore the Talmud, thus providing members of the community who can not participate in the Tuesday night sessions with a taste of the wonder and complexity the Talmud offers. CHAPTER THREE of his exploration appears just below. You […] http://bethsholomsf.org/what-is-talmud-study-chapter-three/ Continue Reading...

Vayeitzai — Genesis 28:10–32:3

“Jacob took leave of Be’er Sheva and set out for Haran.” (Genesis 28:10) Wandering in a displaced manner is distinct from wandering to a place of promise. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Abraham, Jacob takes leave of his hometown of Be’er Sheva to dream of something more – a Promised Land. En route […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayeitzai-genesis-2810-323-2/ Continue Reading...

Toldot — Genesis 25:19 – 28:9

What was the nature of the blindness that Isaac succumbed to later in life? Commenting on Genesis 27:1 (“When Isaac was old his eyes were too dim to see“), Rashi suggests something subtle: “When Isaac was bound to the altar and his father wanted to slaughter him, at that moment, the heavens opened up and […] http://bethsholomsf.org/toldot-genesis-2519-289-2/ Continue Reading...

Chayai Sarah — Genesis 23:1–25:18

Are there consequences to our actions? Do our relationships reflect the consequences of our choices? The choice made last week by Abraham to nearly sacrifice Isaac has profound consequences upon the matriarch, Sarah. The rabbinic exegesis (Pirkai d’Rabbi Eliezer 32) captures this trauma well: “When Abraham came from Mount Moriah, Samael [Satan] was furious that […] http://bethsholomsf.org/chayai-sarah-genesis-231-2518-2/ Continue Reading...

Sabina Lyon-Freedman’s Bat Mitzvah

My name is Sabina Lyon-Freedman, and I’m in the 7th grade at Roosevelt Middle School. I enjoy playing violin, baking, acting, reading, watching movies, writing novels and poems, spending time with friends (including some of my best friends at Beth Sholom), and petting my cat, Buster. For my bat mitzvah this coming Shabbat, I will […] http://bethsholomsf.org/sabina-freedmans-bat-mitzvah/ Continue Reading...

Vayeira— Genesis 18:12–2:24

How many trials must we overcome in life? Abraham is said to have overcome ten trials. Notice the way language links them: “Go…to the land I shall show” (Genesis 12:1) to “Sacrifice your son on one of the mountains I shall show you” (Genesis 22:2). Clearly then, Lech Lecha last week is linked with Vayeira […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vayeira-genesis-181-2224-2/ Continue Reading...

Lech Lecha — Genesis 12:1-17:27

We move from the displacement associated with the Tower of Babel at the end of last week’s reading to even deeper displacement this week as the Torah introduces us to the journey of Abram and Sarai. Their leaving home can be thought of as the setting of a tripwire, a process of setting in motion […] http://bethsholomsf.org/lech-lecha-genesis-121-1727-2/ Continue Reading...