Parsha Lech Lecha

Lech Lecha is such a foundation parsha and probably the most popular one for BTs to start with when they start learning. Minimally you can read an Art Scroll translation to fulfill the mitzvah of Shneim Mikra V’Echad Targum and there’s so much available in English and Hebrew on the Parsha.

Here’s a link to Rabbi Welcher’s shiur on Shneim Mikra V’Echad Targum where he says that Rabbi Chaim Sheinberg zt”l says you can fulfill the targum requirement with an Art Scroll Translation.

YU Torah has close to 200 free mp3s for download on Lech Lecha. Enjoy.

Here’s Rabbi Rietti’s outline of Lech Lecha. You can purchase the entire outline of the Chumash very inexpensively here.

Lech Lecha
#12 “Go!”
#13 Lot Leaves Avram
#14 5 Kings Battle 4 Kings – Avram Goes to War
#15 Contract at Beyn HaBetarim
#16 Hagar Expelled
#17 Circumcision

#12 “Go!”
* ‘Leave your homeland’
* ‘I Will make you a great nation’
* ‘I will bless you’
* Avram was 75 when he left Charan
* HaShem promised land of Canaan to Avram’s seed
* Avram built an altar
* Avram moved to Bet El and built another altar, called it ‘Shem.’
* Moved south (Negev)
* Famine
* Descends to Egypt
* ‘Say you’re my sister’
* Pharaoh lavishes gifts upon Avram
* Pharaoh takes Sarai
* Pharaoh stricken
* ‘Take her and go!’
* Pharaoh sends royal escort with Avram and Sarai

#13 Lot Leaves Avram
* Avram returns to Negev and finally Bet El
* Conflict between Lot and Avrams’ shepherds
* Avram offers Lot to leave but will remain loyal as brother
* Lot goes to Sdom
* HaShem promises the land of Cana’an to Avram’s seed forever
* HaShem promises Avram his seed will be like the dust of the earth
* Avram walked the entire land of Cana’an to acquire it
* Avram moves to Chevron and builds an altar

#14 5 Kings Battle 4 Kings – Avram Goes to War
* Battle of 5 kings against 4 kings
* Avram saves Lot
* Malki Tsedek blesses Avram

#15 Contract at Beyn HaBetarim
* Divine Vision
* ‘Fear not, your reward is very great!’
* ‘But I’m still childless?!’
* ‘Count the stars!’
* ‘How will I know I will inherit the land?’
* bring 3 calves, 3 goats, 3 rams, 1 dove and 1 pigeon
* Split them in half
* Deep trance, prophecy of 400 year slavery
* ‘You will die very old’
* 4th generation will return to the Promised Land

#16 Hagar Expelled
* Co-wife Hagar
* Hagar expelled, three angels appear to her:
#1 Angel tells her to return to Sarai in submission;
#2 Angel promises Hagar will give birth to a large nation;
#3 Angel names her future child ‘Yishmael’, ‘he will be a wild rebel’
* Yishmael born, Avraham is 86

#17 Circumcision
* 99 years old, ‘Walk before be in simplicity’
* HaShem adds the letter Hey to Avram – Avraham
* HaShem promises to be an Eternal Omnipotent G-d to his seed forever
* HaShem promises Eretz Yisrael will be an eternal heritage to us, forever.
* Avraham commanded in circumcision
* HaShem adds the letter Hey to Sarai – Sarah
* Avraham laughed
* “If only Yishmael would live before you!”
* HaShem promises Avraham that Sarah will mother the Jewish nation
* ‘But I will bless Yishmael as you requested’
* Avraham 99, circumcised entire household, Yishmael was 13

21 comments on “Parsha Lech Lecha

  1. No one argues that there is a Halacha of Shnayim Mikra VEchad Targum. As per the OU Torah website on Shnayim Mikrah v Echad Targum,there is a machlokes Rishonim and Poskim as to what constitutes the elements and definition of his Halacha. That being the case, the question remains whether Shnayim Mikrah VEchad Targum is the sole means or outer limit for learning Chumash, which many Rishonim and Acharonim did not view the same as such, since we all have the benefit of their commentaries, and whether one’s study of Chumash should be confined to Shnayim Mikrah VEchad Targum, which was clearly not the case of such Talmidei Chachamim as the CS.

  2. Getting back to my original comment on Hagar:

    Unless she was later Keturah, it’s hard to see any particular virtue in her that would make her worthy of Avraham. So what did Sarah see in her initially that allowed Sarah to permit her to Avraham?

  3. Bob Miller, look at RaShBa”M’s comment on Genesis 25:1 (according to pshat, she is not Hagar). Also, the Yalkut Shimoni (Iyyov 904) says that Avraham’s three wives were from Shem, Ham, and Yefet.

  4. Mark Frankel, he told me this when I mentioned to him that I have been using Onkelus for my echad targum, since my maggid shiur in yeshivah told me that Onkelus is the only targum that is muttar to use even if you don’t understand it, because this Onkelus was written with ruach hakodesh.

    I never really understood that why that is a good reason. So this teacher then told me that the reason why Rav Ammi said to do use a translation in the first place was in order to understand the Hebrew, i.e., not necessarily referring to Onkelus, just that Aramaic then was what the English language is today (for English speakers). And that of course the Notzrim still understood pshat or else they wouldn’t have been able to translate it. He even has Christian books commentaries (as well as academic ones) on the “Old Testament,” because not absolutely everything that they write is kefira (I prefer the terminology “Jewish Scripture” to “Old Testament”), and obviously only learns the good stuff from them, since you have to be able to be mechalek between the tov and the ra.

    It says near the end of the 4th perek of Avot that it is not possible to determine the characteristics of the contents of a vessel unless you actually see what is inside. So anyway, go out and look up “תרגום” (targum) in any Ivrit-Anglit dictionary yourself, and I bet that it will say translation.

  5. Adam, Rabbi Welcher says any translation that is sourced in authentic Torah sources like Art Scroll, Metsudeh and the Living Torah would work.

    There are probably other translations, but they have to be examined on a case by case basis. These is an example of Psak as to what fulfills the halacha and is not just someone expressing their opinion.

    If a Talmid Chacham is telling you any translation would suffice, you might want to ask him straight out if he is issuing a Psak. In this case you might also want to ask, does he think Rabbi Scheinberg would agree with the Psak and what is his source for this opinion. If you aren’t comfortable with having such a discussion it might make sense to use Art Scroll, Metsudah or the Living Torah where we have a clear cut Psak issued.

  6. I am a BT and a follower of this blog. I don’t understand why I have seen it posted a few times that one can be yotzei the mitzvah of echad targum with the Artscroll translation. That seems to imply that other translations will not work. A teacher of mine (who is a big talmid chacham) told me that me’ikar hadin, for echad targum, any translation would suffice.

  7. Correction….reference to Hagar’s doubt of “the authenticity of Sarai’s righteousness” was in Parashat Lech Lecha.

  8. Re: Bob’s and Shmuel’s discussion of Hagar:

    Looking over Rashi’s comments on Hagar in Lech Lecha and
    Vayera, I don’t see any explicit criticism, although Rashi tells us that Hagar doubted the authenticity of Sarai’s righteousess. According to Rashi, Hagar reached this conclusion because of Sarai’s apparent inability to conceive through years of marriage with Avram, while Hagar conceived immediately. (Vayera, Bereshit/Genesis 16:4)

    In the Stone Chumash, R’ Hirsch is quoted (Vayera, Bereshit 21:16) as saying that Hagar had a flawed Hamitic character because she turned away from the dying Yishmael. Yishmael was saved, according to R’Hirsch, because of his own prayers, not those of his mother.

    I don’t have my Machzor readily available for a direct quote or attribution, but Hagar is also criticized for this behavior in the Torah Reading section of the Artscroll Rosh Hashanah Machzor.

    Compare this to our treatment of Sisera’s mother (Sefer Shoftim/Judges, Haftarah of Parashat Beshallach). When he was killed during a campaign to slaughter Jews, she wailed 101 times. She knew he was wicked, yet we allow one of her cries to be heard, since we only blow the Shofar 100 times (Ashkenazim). Why then, don’t we look as “favorably” on Hagar, whose son had not yet actually killed any Jews? In fact, he survived because Hashem judged him in his “present state.” We learn about the power of repentance from Yishmael, on Rosh Hashanah!

    Both Rashi and Ramban see the expulsion of Hagar and Yishmael as one of Avraham’s ten trials.

  9. actually, I will be more specific. Bob, are there specific statements of chazal or rishonim that you are thinking of? if so, which ones?

  10. I’m puzzled by Hagar. If Hagar was as often portrayed, would Sarah (who had the gift of nevuah) have let her near Avraham in the first place?

  11. Thanks, Mark. I am actually trying to learn/understand why Rabbi Rietti interprets the pasuk that way. Has anyone heard Rabbi Rietti’s explanation of this?

  12. Artscroll translates Chapter 12 – Posuk 8 as

    “From there he relocated to the mountain east of Beth-el and pitched his tent, with Beth-el on the west and Ai on the east; and he built there an altar to Hashem and invoked Hashem by Name.”

    The Hebrew for the end on the posuk is Vayikra B’Shem Hashem which Artscroll translated as “invoked Hashem by Name.”

    Perhaps Rabbi Rietti was rendering “invoked Hashem by Name.” as “called it ‘Shem'”.

  13. Does anyone know Rabbi Rietti or have learned from him before and know why he writes:

    “Avram moved to Bet El and built another altar, called it ‘Shem.”?

    In other words why does he say that Avram called the altar at Bet El “shem?”

    Thanks for any tips.

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