Portions Library

A collection of excerpts from Torah Club on the weekly Torah Portions, from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

Lech Lecha


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All Things Created for Him

The rabbis say that God chose Abraham before the creation of the world. He looked for a single righteous man for whom He could justify creating the world. As He looked into the future, scanning over the generations of human beings to come, His eyes fell upon the righteous Abraham. On Abraham’s merit He chose to create the world


The Greatness of the Fathers

Paul explained to the increasingly Gentile congregations in Rome that the Jewish people remained God’s chosen people even though they had not accepted the gospel. He said, “From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved … for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”


The Marriage Test

Distressed and broken-hearted, Sarah went to Abraham to lodge a complaint and to inquire about his intentions. Most husbands would respond with a sharp rejoinder: "Hey, it was your bright idea, now it's your problem. Don't blame me." But Abraham was not like most husbands.


The Famine

Abraham, our father, was tested with ten trials, and he withstood them all; demonstrating how great was Abraham's love [for God], Abraham, our father. Peace be upon him. (m.Avot 5.3)


Melchizedek's Banquet

Melchizedek hosted Abraham and his men at a great banquet: "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine" (Genesis 14:18). Jewish eschatology teaches that in the Messianic Era, the Messiah will host a great banquet in Jerusalem. The resurrected righteous will sit at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the meaning of the passage that says, “[Abraham] was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Abraham sought the eternal city that was to come. He sought the Jerusalem of Messiah. In Genesis 14, he received a foretaste of that great Jerusalem banquet as the king of righteousness came out from Jerusalem and set a table of “bread and wine” before Abraham and his men.


The Quarrel with Lot

In this relationship, Abraham was Lot’s senior. He was clearly in a position of authority over Lot. He could have sent Lot away, sent him back to Haran, or assigned him to any scrap of ground he chose. Instead, Abraham elected to give Lot the first choice of territory and to be content with whatever remained.