Questions and Concepts for Parsha Lech Lechah
(Genesis 12:1-17:27)

1. Abraham is the first of several individuals in history, chosen by God to play a major role in His plan of redemption -- Moses and Yeshua being two others. These three men share something else in common -- all had someone attempting to kill them at a young age. Scripture gives is the accounts of Moses and Pharaoh as well as Yeshua and Herod, but for Abraham we have to turn to other Hebraic sources. In this case, the nemesis was Nimrod, who had Abraham cast into a fiery furnace after the latter had destroyed his father's (Terah) idols.

2. This parsha, "Lech Lechah," marks the beginning of Abraham's travels from a pagan land to the Land of Israel. What does this show regarding the significance of the Land of Israel in relation to what God wanted to do?

3.Verse 12:2 shows a new type of relationship between God and a human being. Whereas both Adam and Noah were blessed by God, Abraham himself will be a blessing to others. This is reflected in the fact that Abraham is the first person called a "prophet" (Genesis 20:7) by God.

4. Abraham immediately sets out on this journey, not knowing what his destination is. This act of "faith" is an example of what we read elsewhere:

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

5. The "souls" acquired by Abraham and Sarah (in 12:5) were people they brought into a relationship with God. Again, this is associated with his being a "prophet." What is a "prophet" in this context? Moreover, Sarah is said by some to have been an even greater prophet than Abraham as God at one point (21:12) instructs Abraham to do whatever Sarah tells him to do, the latter perhaps having a better "vision" of how events were to "play out."

6. Later in the Torah, the sages credit Jacob for being wise when he split his family into two groups upon hearing that his brother Esau was heading his was. Further on however, they critcize Joseph for asking the butler (while he was in prison) to "put in a good word to Pharaoh" for him -- stating that Joseph was given additional jail time (by God) for not totally relying on Him. Abraham takes "practical steps" to protect himself and his wife when he declares that Sarah is his sister (and not his wife). Was this a sign of "weak faith" or was he being "wise as a serpent?"

7. What was there for Abraham to fear in verse 15:1? Could this be tied to the events of 14:14-17?

8. What is the difference between Abraham's "asking for a sign" in 15:8 versus his non-questioning behavior when he set out on his journey at the beginning of the parsha? Was this weakness or is this a different type of situation and proper request?

8. Abraham's "name change" comes in 17:5 (from "Avram" to "Avraham"). Could this change in identity reflect a change in Abraham's "destiny?" (The Hebrew term for this is, "rising above your mazel" -- your "sign").

Consider this:
In verse 14:14, the Torah tells us that 318 of Abraham's men fought to rescue Lot from his captors. Interestingly, the numerical value ("gemmatria") of the name of Abraham's faithful servant Eliezer is exactly 318. Could this "coincidence" reflect the righteousness of Eliezer (and Abraham) and give hint to a miraculous incident?