A SUMMARY OF LECH L'CHA, Gen. 12:1-17:27: God now chooses Avram and Sarei, who have forsaken Babylonian idolatry, to found a model folk, to straighten out the world. Avram is already 75, Sarei 65. God gives Avram only one command- Zionism, to leave his family and Babylonian civilization for primitive Canaan; only there will God "appear" to him. He obeys and God duly appears, promising his seed the holy land. Missionary Avram builds altars everywhere, to teach man about God. Famine forces them down to Egypt, where old, but beautiful, Sarei is taken to Pharoh's harem. God intervenes and Pharoh sends them packing, back to Canaan, now rich.
CH. 13: Avram's quarrelsome materialistic nephew, Rev. Lot, leaves him for beautiful S'dom (Marlboro) country, really Peyton Place- he ignores moral decay, amidst the wonderful landscape (cf. Las Vegas, S.F.,etc.) . God again promises the land of Israel to Avraham, tho only his descendants will take possession.
CH. 14: Avraham goes to war to rescue his renegade nephew from foreign invaders. He leads the victory, but receives scant thanks; he's depressed- he has to kill people to establish God's mission.
CH. 15: God visits Avraham, promising him a child. A sacrificial ceremony symbolizes the tough road ahead for his descendants, including 400 years of exile. It's not yet time for Avram to take Israel.
CH. 16: 10 years later, childless Sarei gives Avram her handmaid, Egyptian Hagar, as a mistress- she hopes to raise Hagar's child in their mission. Pregnant Hagar becomes uppish, wanting to be #1 wife; Sarei lays down the law and Hagar runs off to the desert; an angel appears and orders her to return and submit to Sarei. He predicts the birth of, and names, wild Yishmael, who's born when Avram is 86.
CH. 17: God appears to 99 year old Avram, announcing a special covenant with his descendants- he'll now be called Avraham, the father of many nations, tho he and his seed are to settle in Canaan. Circumcision at 8 days, if possible, is an indispensible sign of the covenant; this is only practised by Jews. Sarei, now Sara, will be the mother of Avraham's true seed. Avram laughs and prays for Yishmael. God stresses that Yishmael will also be great, father of 12 princes- but His true covenant will be with Yitzchak, to be born next year; (noone tells Sara). Avraham (99), Yishmael (13), and all his household were duly circumcised. Islam distorts this passage.
THE MESSIANIC HAFTORA, ISAIAH 40:27- 41:16, predicts a selfish Godless UN, which will ultimately fail; true human unity will only come from the Jewish State of Israel. The Jews are discouraged by a cruel world, which does not understand them, by the long drawn out process, until God even begins to fulfill His promises to Avraham; the prophet reminds them of eventual victory over all nations, as that of Avram of yore; like him, they don't want to conquer to exploit, but to be a blessing to all humanity. Those who cleave to Divine hope, as Avraham, have inexhaustive energy, despite lack of success (M. Hirsch). ...YOU WILL REJOICE IN GOD AND PRAISE YOURSELF IN HE WHO MAKES ISRAEL HOLY.
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