The weekly Torah portion of Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

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How to define the Malach YHVH

The Malach YHVH is mentioned many times, but what is or who is this being exactly? How should one define: Malach YHVH? It's the Malach YHVH that is talking to Hagar, but after the whole event she ...
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Why was Lech Lecha a Nisayon?

The Rambam in his commentary to the Mishna list the 10 Nisayon's, challenges, which Avraham went through and passed. The first one is when G‑d tells him to leave his homeland to be a stranger in the ...
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Are Muslims also promised the Land of Israel?

God promised Avraham that his descendants would be given the Land of Israel (Genesis 15:18-21). Since Ishmael is one of Avraham's descendants, and if Ishmael is the ancestor of Muslisms, do Muslims ...
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Why was it important for the Jews to leave Mitzraim with רכוש גדול?

Why did the Jews have to leave Egypt with רכוש גדול? What was the significance of the Bnei Yisroel asking the Egyptians for silver, gold? (Shemos 11:2)
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What is the iniquity of the Emorites?

Rashi on Bereshis 48:22 explains מִיַּד הָאֱמֹרִי as follows מיד עשו שעשה מעשה אמורי The pasuk earlier in Bereshis (15:16) implies that the Emorites were sinners כִּי לֹא שָׁלֵם עֲוֹן ...
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Shemot 3:12 v.s. covenant with Avraham

In different commentaries about the verse of Shemot 3:12, I've read that the entire purpose of leaving Egypt was in order that Bnei Yisrael would come to Har Sinai and accept the Torah (to serve Him ...
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How to understand Gen. 12:5–6 with Rashi

B'reshis 12:5: ‏…וַיֵּצְאוּ לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן / …and they left to go to the land of Canaan וַיָּבֹאוּ אַרְצָה כְּנָעַן.‏ / and they went in[1] to the land ...
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Explaining the N'tziv on “והכנעני אז בארץ”

The Haamek Davar on B'reshis 12:6 says that "the Canaanite was then in the land" is in that verse to teach us that this More [after whom the area was named], although he was not of Canaanite ...
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Did Yitzchak have free will?

G-d promises that his covenant to Avraham will be fulfilled through Yitzchak. Now we know of course that Yitzchak, like Avraham before him and Yaakov after him, was totally righteous (albeit not ...
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How did Pharaoh know that Sarai was Avram's wife?

When Avimelech took Sarah, Hashem came to him in a dream and told him to return Avraham's wife (Bereishis 20:3). When Pharaoh took her, no such event is recorded in the Torah. Pharaoh's household ...
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Avraham's tithe

Genesis 14:20 says that Avraham gave "a tenth of all" to Malki-Tzedek. A tenth of what? His annual income, his assets, the booty from the war, or something else?
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Blatant foreshadowing in the Torah

Genesis 13:10 has the following verse: ויישא-לוט את-עיניו, וירא את-כל-כיכר הירדן, כי כולה, משקה--לפני שחת יהוה, את-סדום ואת-עמורה, כגן-יהוה כארץ מצריים, בואכה צוער Translation of bold: ...
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Where was Abraham coming from in Genesis 13:9

When Abraham and Lot separate in Genesis 13, Abraham tells Lot: הֲלֹא כָל-הָאָרֶץ לְפָנֶיךָ, הִפָּרֶד נָא מֵעָלָי: אִם-הַשְּׂמֹאל וְאֵימִנָה, וְאִם-הַיָּמִין וְאַשְׂמְאִילָה. "Is the whole land ...
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What is the difference between curses that would require changing lashon?

In parshat Lech Lecha, (Bereishit 12:3) Hashem promises Avram that וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר, And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. Why ...
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Why doesn't the king of Belah get a name?

Bereishis 14:2 names the 5 kings who were on Team B in the war between the 4 kings and the 5 kings. Regarding 4 of the 5 kings on Team B, we are told their name and their domain. But by the king of ...
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Covenant of pieces; cutting

The birds or pigeons in this covenant making (the ברית בין הבתרים) are not cut in two, but why? What is the meaning behind this?
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Where was Berit Ben Habetarim done?

I've always imagined that Berit Ben Habetarim was done in Eretz Yisrael, but someone recently told me it happened in Haran. Anybody have any sources for either?
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Who performed the bris of Abraham?

It is clear that Abraham understood the Torah, and that he waited to enact his bris until commanded, but who performed it? Did he do it himself, or was someone else instructed to do it, to serve in ...
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Abraham's converts…to what?

Assuming the view that Avraham was not a Jew (see here and here1), "ha-nefesh asher asu beCharan" (Gen. 12:5) that Rashi explains were converts, what did they convert to? To give credit where credit ...
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Avraham's Converts [duplicate]

In Bereishis 12:5 we see that Avraham took with him את הנפש אשר עשו בחרן "the soul they had made in Charan." Rashi there comments that "Abraham would convert the men, and Sarah would convert the ...
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Ishmael & Great Nation Status

So God tells Abraham that he will make Ishmael into a great nation. Some nations, like China, are great without God having made a bilbical promise to anyone. When Abraham was promised that Ishmael ...
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Why is the information that Malchi-Tzedek was a priest not written earlier in the posuk?

In parshas Lech Lecha, after Avraham had successfully conquered the four kings and rescued his nephew Lot, it says (Bereishis 14,18): וּמַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק מֶלֶךְ שָׁלֵם, הוֹצִיא לֶחֶם וָיָיִן; וְהוּא ...
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Didn't Shem already have an altar on Moriah?

We learn from the Torah that Akedat Yitzhok took place on the mountain of Moriah. We also know that Malki-Tzedek came to Avraham Avinu, bringing bread and wine. (Bereishit 14:18) Rashi brings the ...
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Why are there so few Jews if God promised Abraham his children would number like the stars?

God promises Abraham a number of times that he would father a great nation whose numbers would be like the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach. However today there are less than 14 million ...
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Avraham's different approaches to kidnapping

I find something very strange. Lot gets kidnapped; Avraham goes to war to get him back. Sarah his wife gets kidnapped; he does and says nothing. What is with this very strange discrepancy?
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How Avraham could receive the Divine Presence?

How Avraham was able to receive the Divine Presence if he was not in Eretz Israel and had no brit milah?
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Why did Avraham wait to have a bris?

Chazal tells us (Midrash Rabbah Bereishis 64:4 and 95:3; Yoma 28b, based on. Gen. 26:5; Kiddushin 82a) that the Patriarchs observed the mitzvahs before they were given. But Avraham did not circumcize ...
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Abrahamic covenant and Brit Milah - how is the covenant passed down?

Why is it so that if a Jew has a male child with a non-Jewish woman the child is not circumcised, even though, like Ishmail, the child is under Abrahamic (but not Mosaic) covenant, since the father is ...
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Neither from a thread to a shoe strap [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why did Avraham take gifts from Pharaoh, but not the King of Sodom? After Avram saved Lot and the people of Sodom from the 4 kings, the king of Sodom offered him the ...
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How can you see words?

Has anyone else noticed the seeming incongruity in Lekh Lekha, Gen 15:1...that Avram is "seeing" the words? The verse states: אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, הָיָה דְבַר-יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם, ...
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Sarah's treatment of Hagar and Ishmael

How could Sarah's treatment of Hagar and Ishmael be considered righteous? I intend this as a sincere and serious question. While Hagar was pregnant, Sarah "prevent[ed] her intercourse with Abraham, ...
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Why not do as Avraham and Sara did w.r.t. conversion

Rashi to B'reshis 12:5 quotes Rav Huna: "... whom they brought [to Judaism]. Avraham was converting the men and Sara the women...". My understanding is that nowadays female prospective converts study ...
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Shifting subjects and objects in Gen 12:15

There are three statements in Genesis 12:15: וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתָהּ שָׂרֵי פַרְעֹה וַיְהַלְלוּ אֹתָהּ אֶל פַּרְעֹה וַתֻּקַּח הָאִשָּׁה בֵּית פַּרְעֹה And Pharaoh's princes saw her, and they ...
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Were Avraham's tactics in rescuing Lot typical of the time?

Parshat Lech L'cha describes how Lot was captured in the battle of four kings against five kings. When Avraham heard, he mounted a night-time attack to rescue him. This got me wondering: was a ...
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Why did Avraham take gifts from Pharaoh, but not the King of Sodom?

In Bereshit 12:11-16, we see that Avraham was willing to receive gifts from Pharoah: 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: 'Behold ...
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How are we to understand Malchi-Tzedek, non-Jewish priest of God?

Malchi-Tzedek is a gentile priest who worships God. I initially read this as just saying God is not exclusive (it says somewhere in Nevi'im that God also has covenants with other peoples), but today ...
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Why did Hashem not tell Avraham to have a Bris earlier?

Avraham Avinu was told to have a Bris at 99 years of age. Why didn't Hashem have him do a Bris earlier?