Thursday, October 25, 2018

Parashah 4: Vayera (He appeared) Genesis 18:1 through 22:24

Shabbat shalom, everyone!  As usual, a synopsis of this week’s Torah portion can be found on our website.

In this lesson we learn more about Avraham, who, in the last Parashah, had learned he had been chosen to receive a covenant from YHWH, to be the father of a great, obedient nation. Despite the magnitude of this great honor, we learn that Avraham is but an ordinary man, a frail human, with all the associated human desires, and human erring and human lack of faith.

As the Parashah opens, Avraham recognizes YHWH approaching as "three men" (we can only guess that one was Yeshua and the other two were angels because two of them later left and went to Sodom [see Genesis 18:22 and 19:1]).

Genesis 18: 1 ADONAI appeared to Avraham by the oaks of Mamre as he sat at the entrance to the tent during the heat of the day. 2 He raised his eyes and looked, and there in front of him stood three men. On seeing them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, prostrated himself on the ground, 3 and said, "My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, please don't leave your servant.

Now, YHWH had promised that Avraham would be the father of a great nation (Genesis 17:4), so we see YHWH preparing Avraham for the coming birth of his son:

Genesis 18: 10 He said, "I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son. "Sarah heard him from the entrance of the tent, behind him. 11 Avraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, "I am old, and so is my lord; am I to have pleasure again?" 13 ADONAI said to Avraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and ask, 'Am I really going to bear a child when I am so old?' 14 Is anything too hard for ADONAI? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son."

Wasn't it typically human of Sarah to laugh when she heard that she was to bear a child in her old age? It had to be really embarrassing when she realized YHWH had heard her laugh and then, to make matters worse, she lied and tried to tell YHWH she hadn't laughed (vs. 15)....(Remember, Abraham and Sarah (then "Avram and Sarai") had "jumped the gun" by deciding to take matters into their own hands and have a child with Sarah's handmaiden, Hagar in Genesis 16 - even though YHWH had promised to give "this land" to Avram and his descendants! - Genesis 15:17-20)

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