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Vayeira

Vayeira

I (God) Appeared [to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob]
Genesis
18:1–22:24

The Eternal appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre as he was sitting at the entrance of the tent at about the hottest time of the day. - Genesis 18:1

Summary: 
  • Abraham welcomes three visitors, who announce that Sarah will soon have a son. (18:1-15)
  • Abraham argues with God about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (18:16-33)
  • Lot's home is attacked by the people of Sodom. Lot and his two daughters escape as the cities are being destroyed. Lot's wife is turned into a pillar of salt. (19:1-29)
  • Lot impregnates his daughters, and they bear children who become the founders of the nations Moab and Ammon. (19:30-38)
  • Abimelech, king of Gerar, takes Sarah as his wife after Abraham claims that she is his sister. (20:1-18)
  • Isaac is born, circumcised, and weaned. Hagar and her son, Ishmael, are sent away; an angel saves their lives. (21:1-21)
  • God tests Abraham, instructing him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah. (22:1-19)

When do we read Vayeira?

2017 Nov 4 /15 Heshvan, 5778
2018 Oct 27 /18 Heshvan, 5779

RECENT COMMENTARY

  • By Ellen M. Umansky

    Vayeira is an especially challenging and memorable Torah portion for it provides us with two very different models of what it means to live in covenantal relationship with God. When God tells Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah, and all of their inhabitants will be destroyed because of their unlawfulness, Abraham immediately protests God's proposed actions. "Far be it from You to do such a thing," says Abraham, "killing innocent and wicked alike ... Must not the Judge of all the earth do justly?" (Genesis 18:25). In one Rabbinic midrash, Abraham directly challenges God, saying "You have sworn not to bring a deluge [or flood] upon the world. ... Not a deluge of water will You bring but a deluge of fire? ... [If so], You have not acted according to Your oath" (B'reishit Rabbah 49:9). Abraham then bargains with God, ultimately convincing the Eternal to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if as few as 10 righteous people can be found.

  • Torah for Tots

    A guide to help adults learn how to engage young children in a discussion about this week’s Torah portion.  

  • Torah for Tweens

    Explore this week’s Torah portion with “Family Shabbat Table Talk” lessons, perfect for families with tweens.

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