Torah Portion

Vayera

וירא

Genesis 18:1-22:24
Second Kings 4:1-37

Reconciling Hagar and Sarah: Feminist Midrash and National Conflict

Reconciling Hagar and Sarah: Feminist Midrash and National Conflict

In Jewish and Muslim interpretation, Hagar and Sarah represent the matriarchs of Abraham’s blessed heirs, the Arabs and the Jews. In classical sources, the break between the two women is never mended, but feminist readers of the Bible, Jewish and Muslim, have used midrash-style poetry to rewrite the ending of their story. Part of this endeavor is the hope of rewriting the contemporary conflict and reconciling between their putative descendants.

Noam Zion
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Ishmael, King of the Arabs

Ishmael, King of the Arabs

Throughout the Bible, Ishmaelite is a collective term for eastern nomads. Why, then, does Genesis present their eponymous ancestor Ishmael as dwelling in the west? The answer can be found in the political realities of Persian period Yehud.

Prof.
Yairah Amit
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

“Take Your Only Son Isaac” – What Happened to Ishmael?

“Take Your Only Son Isaac” – What Happened to Ishmael?

In the introductory verses of the Akedah (Binding of Isaac), God refers to Isaac as Abraham’s only son, ignoring the existence of Ishmael. Ishmael’s absence has bothered even the earliest readers of the text, but a documentary approach obviates the problem. The key is understanding the relationship between Abraham and Hagar.

Dr.
Philip Yoo
TheGemara.com
,
Grace Leake
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Abraham and Lot’s Bedouin-Style Hospitality

Abraham and Lot’s Bedouin-Style Hospitality

Bedouin culture goes back 4,500 years. Owing to the unchangeability of desert conditions, this culture remained largely unchanged and is recognizable in the Bible. The stories of Abraham and Lot hosting angels illustrate one of the most renowned and cherished social values in Bedouin society, namely the practice of hospitality.

Dr.
Clinton Bailey
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Abraham Passes the Test of the Akedah But Fails as a Father

Abraham Passes the Test of the Akedah But Fails as a Father

The story of the Akedah appears to present Abraham’s actions in a uniformly positive light. However, Isaac’s absence at the end of the story, and Sarah’s death immediately afterwards, suggested to some traditional and modern commentators a criticism of Abraham.

Prof.
Aaron Koller
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

The Book of Job and its Paradoxical Relationship with the Akedah

The Book of Job and its Paradoxical Relationship with the Akedah

In an effort to make greater sense of the inscrutable story of the Akedah and its relationship to the equally morally complex book of Job, some unconventional exegetical methods are called for. The aim of this essay is to apply two such methods, both of which are literary in nature. The first entails reading the Akedah in light of its subversive sequel. The second calls for a non-linear, post-modern reading of the biblical narrative.

Judy Klitsner
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Tikkunei Soferim and the Ironic Emendation of Rashi's Interpretation

Tikkunei Soferim and the Ironic Emendation of Rashi's Interpretation

Do the rabbis believe that the scribes changed the wording of some verses in the Bible? A look at how the great medieval rabbi, Rashi, reacted to one “correction” sheds light on the history of the Jewish belief in the inviolability of the Torah text.

Prof. Rabbi
Marty Lockshin
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Lot and His Daughters' Motives for Their Incestuous Union

Lot and His Daughters' Motives for Their Incestuous Union

Genesis Rabbah surprisingly portrays Lot’s daughters and their choices in a decidedly positive light, while exacerbating Lot’s culpability.

Dr.
Shayna Sheinfeld
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Biblical and Greek Ambivalence Towards Child Sacrifice

Biblical and Greek Ambivalence Towards Child Sacrifice

A look at the the practice and prohibition of child sacrifice in the Bible and the ambivalence underlying the stories of Jephthah’s daughter, Agamemnon’s daughter, and the binding of Isaac.[1]

Dr. Rabbi
Samuel Z. Glaser
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Akedah: How Jews and Christians Explained Abraham's Faith

Akedah: How Jews and Christians Explained Abraham's Faith

God promised Abraham that Isaac would be his heir, yet God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. What did Abraham believe that allowed him to reconcile this divine contradiction?

Dr.
Devorah Schoenfeld
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Circumcision: Interpreting the Foreskin as a Defect

Circumcision: Interpreting the Foreskin as a Defect

Genesis 17 states that circumcision will be a sign of the covenant, but is silent about the significance of the act itself. Some Jewish interpreters filled this gap by constructing orlah, possession of a foreskin, as a physical defect or disability, and circumcision as an act of healing or perfection. 

Dr.
David Bernat
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Why Does the Sodom Story Parallel the Flood Traditions?

Why Does the Sodom Story Parallel the Flood Traditions?

A closer look at the thematic and verbal parallels between the accounts of the flood and the destruction of Sodom, as well as comparison with other ANE flood/destruction stories, helps us better understand the genre and function of the Sodom story.[1]

Dr.
Baruch Alster
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Torah Narratives with Angels Never Actually Happened: Heretical or Sublime?

Torah Narratives with Angels Never Actually Happened: Heretical or Sublime?

Maimonides believes any story with angels is a prophetic vision while Ramban believes they are real occurrences and calls Maimonides’ position “forbidden to believe” – what is at stake in this debate?

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

What Does Sarah's Expulsion of Hagar Signify for Abraham's Descendants?

What Does Sarah's Expulsion of Hagar Signify for Abraham's Descendants?

Paul, in the 1st c., allegorizes the expulsion of Hagar to argue that his rivals should be expelled from the church, a lesson applied by later Christians to their own Jewish and Muslim rivals. Ramban, in the 13th c., uses the same biblical story to explain why Jews of his day are persecuted. Such readings highlight an assumption ingrained in Judaism and Christianity alike: Biblical stories speak to the present-day circumstances of their audience.

Dr. Rabbi
David M. Freidenreich
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

The Shunammite Woman and the Patriarchy Problem

The Shunammite Woman and the Patriarchy Problem

Virtually all biblical scholars—even feminist biblical scholars—consider the Bible and ancient Israelite society patriarchal.[1] But is that a valid designation?

Prof.
Carol Myers
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Mitigating the Akedah

Mitigating the Akedah

Rabbinic Exegetes’ Attempts to Explain the Context, Meaning, and Value of the Akedah

Prof.
Isaac Kalimi
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

The Expulsion of Ishmael: Who Is Being Tried?

The Expulsion of Ishmael: Who Is Being Tried?

The literary similarities between the expulsion of Ishmael account and that of the Akedah implies that a trial is taking place.

Prof.
Rachel Adelman
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Isaac's Divine Conception?

Isaac's Divine Conception?

“The Lord visited Sarah” (Gen 21:1) – When God (and his angels) appears to Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac, the text implies a hidden visit to Sarah. Does this mean, as both Philo and Paul claim, that Isaac was born from a divine conception?

Dr. Rabbi
Samuel Z. Glaser
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com
,
TheGemara.com

Vayera

וירא

Genesis 18:1-22:24

וַיֹּאמֶר יְ־הוָה אִם אֶמְצָא בִסְדֹם חֲמִשִּׁים צַדִּיקִם בְּתוֹךְ הָעִיר וְנָשָׂאתִי לְכָל הַמָּקוֹם בַּעֲבוּרָם׃

בראשית יח:כו

And YHWH said, “If I find within the city of Sodom fifty innocent ones, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.”

Gen 18:26

Genesis

Heading

Heading

This is some text inside of a div block.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Authors
No items found.
No items found.
Topics
No items found.