Parashah 3 – Lekh L’kha (Get yourself out)
12:1 Now Yehovah said to Avram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
4 So Avram went, as Yehovah had said to him, and Lot went with him. Avram was 75 years old when he left Haran. 5 Avram took his wife Sarai, his brother’s son Lot, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, as well as the people they had acquired in Haran; then they set out for the land of Kena‘an and entered the land of Kena‘an.
6 Avram passed through the land to the place called Sh’khem, to the oak of Moreh. The Kena‘ani were then in the land. 7 Yehovah appeared to Avram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to Yehovah, who had appeared to him.
8 He left that place, went to the hill east of Beit-El and pitched his tent. With Beit-El to the west and ‘Ai to the east, he built an altar there and called on the name of Yehovah. 9 Then Avram traveled on, continuing toward the Negev. 10 But there was a famine in the land, so Avram went down into Egypt to stay there, because the famine in the land was severe.
11 When he came close to Egypt and was about to enter, he said to Sarai his wife, “Here now, I know that you are a good-looking woman; 12 so that when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife,’ and kill me but keep you alive. 13 Please say that you are my sister, so that it will go well with me for your sake, and so that I will stay alive because of you.”
14 When Avram entered Egypt, the Egyptians did notice that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s princes saw her and commended her to Pharaoh, so the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 He treated Avram well for her sake, giving him sheep, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female slaves, and camels.
17 But Yehovah inflicted great plagues on Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai Avram’s wife. 18 Pharaoh called Avram and said, “What is this that you have done to me? Why didn’t you tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my own wife? Now therefore, here is your wife! Take her, and go away!” 20 So Pharaoh gave orders concerning him to his men, and they sent him on his way with his wife and everything he had.
13:1 Avram went up from Egypt — he, his wife and everything he had, and Lot with him — into the Negev. 2 Avram became wealthy, with much cattle, silver and gold. 3 As he went on his travels from the Negev, he came to Beit-El, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beit-El and ‘Ai, 4 where he had first built the altar; and there Avram called on the name of Yehovah.
5 Lot, who was traveling with Avram, also had flocks, herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support their living together, because their possessions were too great for them to remain together. 7 Moreover, quarreling arose between Avram’s and Lot’s herdsmen. The Kena‘ani and the P’rizi were then living in the land. 8 Avram said to Lot, “Please, let’s not have quarreling between me and you, or between my herdsmen and yours, since we’re kinsmen. 9 Isn’t the whole land there in front of you? Please separate yourself from me — if you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will go to the left.” 10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Yarden was well watered everywhere, before Yehovah destroyed S’dom and ‘Amora, like the garden of Yehovah, like the land of Egypt in the direction of Tzo‘ar. 11 So Lot chose all the plain of the Yarden for himself, and Lot traveled eastward; thus they separated themselves from each other. 12 Avram lived in the land of Kena‘an; and Lot lived in the cities of the plain, setting up his tent near S’dom. 13 Now the men of S’dom were evil, committing great sins against Yehovah.
14 Yehovah said to Avram, after Lot had moved away from him, “Look all around you from where you are, to the north, the south, the east and the west. 15 All the land you see I will give to you and your descendants forever, 16 and I will make your descendants as numerous as the specks of dust on the earth — so that if a person can count the specks of dust on the earth, then your descendants can be counted. 17 Get up and walk through the length and breadth of the land, because I will give it to you.” 18 Avram moved his tent and came to live by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hevron. There he built an altar to Yehovah.
14:1 When Amrafel was king of Shin‘ar, Aryokh king of Elasar, K’dorla‘omer king of ‘Elam and Tid‘al king of Goyim; 2 they made war together against Bera king of S’dom and against Birsha king of ‘Amora, Shin’av king of Admah, Shem’ever king of Tzvoyim, and the king of Bela (which is the same as Tzo‘ar). 3 All the latter kings joined forces in the Siddim Valley, where the Dead Sea is. 4 They had served K’dorla‘omer twelve years, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
5 In the fourteenth year K’dorla‘omer and the kings with him came and defeated the Refa’im in ‘Asht’rot-Karnayim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Eimim in Shaveh-Kiryatayim 6 and the Hori at Se‘ir, their mountain, all the way to Eil-Pa’ran by the desert. 7 Next they turned back, came to ‘Ein-Mishpat (which is the same as Kadesh), and defeated all the country of the ‘Amaleki, and also the Emori, who lived in Hatzatzon-Tamar. 8 Then the kings of S’dom, ‘Amora, Admah, Tzvoyim and Bela (that is, Tzo‘ar) came out and arrayed themselves for battle in the Siddim Valley 9 against K’dorla‘omer king of ‘Elam, Tid‘al king of Goyim, Amrafel king of Admah and Aryokh king of Elasar, four kings against the five.
10 Now the Siddim Valley was full of clay pits; and when the kings of S’dom and ‘Amora fled, some fell into them; while the rest fled to the hills. 11 The victors took all the possessions of S’dom and ‘Amora and all their food supply; then they left. 12 But as they left, they took Lot, Avram’s brother’s son, and his possessions; since he was living in S’dom. 13 Someone who had escaped came and told Avram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Emori, brother of Eshkol and brother of ‘Aner; all of them allies of Avram. 14 When Avram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, who had been born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 During the night he and his servants divided his forces against them, then attacked and pursued them all the way to Hovah, north of Dammesek. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his nephew Lot with his goods, together with the women and the other people. 17 After his return from slaughtering K’dorla‘omer and the kings with him, the king of S’dom went out to meet him in the Shaveh Valley, also known as the King’s Valley.
18 Malki-Tzedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen of El ‘Elyon [God Most High], 19 so he blessed him with these words:
“Blessed be Avram by El ‘Elyon,
maker of heaven of earth.
20 and blessed be El ‘Elyon,
who handed your enemies over to you.”
and he gave him a tenth of everything.
21 The king of S’dom said to Avram, “Give me the people, and keep the goods for yourself.” 22 But Avram answered the king of S’dom, “I have raised my hand in an oath to Yehovah, El ‘Elyon, maker of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take so much as a thread or a sandal thong of anything that is yours; so that you won’t be able to say, ‘I made Avram rich.’ 24 I will take only what my troops have eaten and the share of the spoil belonging to the men who came with me — ‘Aner, Eshkol and Mamre; let them have their share.”
15:1 Some time later the word of Yehovah came to Avram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Avram. I am your protector; your reward will be very great.” 2 Avram replied, “Adonai Yehovah, what good will your gifts be to me if I continue childless; and Eli‘ezer from Dammesek inherits my possessions? 3 You haven’t given me a child,” Avram continued, “so someone born in my house will be my heir.” 4 But the word of Yehovah came to him: “This man will not be your heir. No, your heir will be a child from your own body.” 5 Then he brought him outside and said, “Look up at the sky, and count the stars — if you can count them! Your descendants will be that many!” 6 He believed in Yehovah, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
7 Then he said to him, “I am Yehovah, who brought you out from Ur-Kasdim to give you this land as your possession.” 8 He replied, “Adonai Yehovah, how am I to know that I will possess it?” 9 He answered him, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove and a young pigeon.” 10 He brought him all these, cut the animals in two and placed the pieces opposite each other; but he didn’t cut the birds in half. 11 Birds of prey swooped down on the carcasses, but Avram drove them away.
12 As the sun was about to set, a deep sleep fell on Avram; horror and great darkness came over him. 13 Yehovah said to Avram, “Know this for certain: your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs. They will be slaves and held in oppression there four hundred years. 14 But I will also judge that nation, the one that makes them slaves. Afterwards, they will leave with many possessions. 15 As for you, you will join your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 Only in the fourth generation will your descendants come back here, because only then will the Emori be ripe for punishment.”
17 After the sun had set and there was thick darkness, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared, which passed between these animal parts. 18 That day Yehovah made a covenant with Avram: “I have given this land to your descendants — from the Vadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River — 19 the territory of the Keni, the K’nizi, the Kadmoni, 20 the Hitti, the P’rizi, the Refa’im, 21 the Emori, the Kena‘ani, the Girgashi and the Y’vusi.”
16:1 Now Sarai Avram’s wife had not borne him a child. But she had an Egyptian slave-girl named Hagar; 2 so Sarai said to Avram, “Here now, Yehovah has kept me from having children; so go in and sleep with my slave-girl. Maybe I’ll be able to have children through her.” Avram listened to what Sarai said.
3 It was after Avram had lived ten years in the land of Kena‘an that Sarai Avram’s wife took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to Avram her husband to be his wife. 4 Avram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she conceived. But when she became aware that she was pregnant, she looked on her mistress with contempt. 5 Sarai said to Avram, “This outrage being done to me is your fault! True, I gave my slave-girl to you to sleep with; but when she saw that she was pregnant, she began holding me in contempt. May Yehovah decide who is right — I or you!” 6 However, Avram answered Sarai, “Look, she’s your slave-girl. Deal with her as you think fit.” Then Sarai treated her so harshly that she ran away from her.
7 The angel of Yehovah found her by a spring in the desert, the spring on the road to Shur, 8 and said, “Hagar! Sarai’s slave-girl! Where have you come from, and where are you going?” She answered, “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of Yehovah said to her, “Go back to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10 The angel of Yehovah said to her, “I will greatly increase your descendants; there will be so many that it will be impossible to count them.” 11 The angel of Yehovah said to her, “Look, you are pregnant, and you will give birth to a son. You are to call him Yishma‘el [God pays attention] because Yehovah has paid attention to your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man, with his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, living his life at odds with all his kinsmen.”
13 So she named Yehovah who had spoken with her El Ro’i [God of seeing], because she said, “Have I really seen the One who sees me [and stayed alive]?” 14 This is why the well has been called Be’er-Lachai-Ro’i [well of the one who lives and sees]; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
15 Hagar bore Avram a son, and Avram called the son whom Hagar had borne Yishma‘el. 16 Avram was 86 years old when Hagar bore Yishma‘el to Avram.
17:1 When Avram was 99 years old Yehovah appeared to Avram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai [God Almighty]. Walk in my presence and be pure-hearted. 2 I will make my covenant between me and you, and I will increase your numbers greatly.” 3 Avram fell on his face, and God continued speaking with him: 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. 5 Your name will no longer be Avram [exalted father], but your name will be Avraham [father of many], because I have made you the father of many nations. 6 I will cause you to be very fruitful. I will make nations of you, kings will descend from you.
7 “I am establishing my covenant between me and you, along with your descendants after you, generation after generation, as an everlasting covenant, to be God for you and for your descendants after you. 8 I will give you and your descendants after you the land in which you are now foreigners, all the land of Kena‘an, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God.”
9 God said to Avraham, “As for you, you are to keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation. 10 Here is my covenant, which you are to keep, between me and you, along with your descendants after you: every male among you is to be circumcised. 11 You are to be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; this will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 Generation after generation, every male among you who is eight days old is to be circumcised, including slaves born within your household and those bought from a foreigner not descended from you. 13 The slave born in your house and the person bought with your money must be circumcised; thus my covenant will be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who will not let himself be circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin — that person will be cut off from his people, because he has broken my covenant.”
15 God said to Avraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are not to call her Sarai [mockery]; her name is to be Sarah [princess]. 16 I will bless her; moreover, I will give you a son by her. Truly I will bless her: she will be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” 17 At this Avraham fell on his face and laughed — he thought to himself, “Will a child be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah give birth at ninety?” 18 Avraham said to God, “If only Yishma‘el could live in your presence!” 19 God answered, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you are to call him Yitz’chak [laughter]. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 But as for Yishma‘el, I have heard you. I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Yitz’chak, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” 22 With that, God finished speaking with Avraham and went up from him.
23 Avraham took Yishma‘el his son, all the slaves born in his house and all who had been bought with his money, every male among the people in Avraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin that very day, just as God had said to him.
24 Avraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, 25 and Yishma‘el his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 Avraham and Yishma‘el his son were circumcised on the same day; 27 and all the men in his household, both slaves born in his house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
27 Why do you complain, Ya‘akov;
why do you say, Isra’el,
“My way is hidden from Yehovah,
my rights are ignored by my God”?
28 Haven’t you known, haven’t you heard
that the everlasting God, Yehovah,
the Creator of the ends of the earth,
does not grow tired or weary?
His understanding cannot be fathomed.
29 He invigorates the exhausted,
he gives strength to the powerless.
30 Young men may grow tired and weary,
even the fittest may stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in Yehovah will renew their strength,
they will soar aloft as with eagles’ wings;
when they are running they won’t grow weary,
when they are walking they won’t get tired.
41:1 “Keep silence before me, coastlands!
Let the peoples replenish their strength!
Let them approach; then let them speak.
Let us assemble for judgment.”
2 Who has raised from the east one who is just
and called him to be in his service?
He hands nations over to him
and subjects kings to him;
his sword reduces them to dust,
his bow to driven straw.
3 He pursues them, passing on unscathed,
hardly touching the path with his feet.
4 Whose work is this? Who has brought it about?
He who called the generations from the beginning,
“I, Yehovah, am the first;
and I am the same with those who are last.”
5 The coastlands have seen and became afraid.
The ends of the earth have trembled.
They have approached, and now they have come.
6 Every one helps his fellow workman,
everyone says to his brother, “Be strong!”
7 The woodworker encourages the goldsmith,
the polisher encourages the hammerer;
he says of the soldering, “Yes, that’s good,”
then puts nails in [the idol] to keep it from moving.
8 “But you, Isra’el, my servant;
Ya‘akov, whom I have chosen,
descendants of Avraham my friend,
9 I have taken you from the ends of the earth,
summoned you from its most distant parts
and said to you, ‘You are my servant’ —
I have chosen you, not rejected you.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you;
don’t be distressed, for I am your God.
I give you strength, I give you help,
I support you with my victorious right hand.
11 All those who were angry with you
will be disgraced, put to shame;
those who fought against you
will be destroyed, brought to nothing.
12 You will seek them but not find them,
those who contended with you;
yes, those who made war with you
will be brought to nothing, nothing at all.
13 For I, Yehovah, your God,
say to you, as I hold your right hand,
‘Have no fear; I will help you.
14 Have no fear, Ya‘akov, you worm,
you men of Isra’el!’
I will help you,” says Yehovah;
“Your redeemer is the Holy One of Isra’el.
15 “I will make you into a threshing-sledge,
new, with sharp, pointed teeth,
to thresh the mountains and crush them to dust,
to reduce the hills to chaff.
16 As you fan them, the wind will carry them off,
and the whirlwind will scatter them.
Then you will rejoice in Yehovah,
you will glory in the Holy One of Isra’el.