When you think about God's command to Abraham how do you understand the emphatic Lekh Lekha? God could have just said "Lekh!" - Go, journey! - BUT we have an extra Lekha in the Hebrew usually translated as "to you." But that doesn't seem to make so much sense, unless we were to interpret it as God saying - "Yes, YOU! I'm talking to YOU Avram!"
What picture do you have in your mind of Avraham travelling from Haran to the land of Canaan? What color are his eyes? His skin? He comes from Mesopotamia. The clan was more nomadic than an urban. Imagine the scene. Compare your view to this illustration:
Tom Lovell (1909 – 1997)
Young Abraham Travels With Family Up Euphrates Valley
Tom Lovell (5 February 1909 – 29 June 1997) was an American illustrator and painter. He was a prolific creator of pulp fiction magazine covers and illustrations, and of visual art of the American West. He produced illustrations for National Geographic magazine, and many others, and painted many historical Western subjects such as interactions between Indians and white settlers and traders. He was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1974
Here's Rashi's commentary on Lekh Lekha:
Take a crack at the Hebrew - the Gur Aryeh is Rabbi Judah Leow of Prague who wrote a super-commentary on Rashi (16th Century):
OR SKIP THIS SOURCE AND CONTINUE with VERSE 5.
Note the Torah's description of who goes with Avram and Sarai on their journey.
How did they decide to move on? Was it only because of God's command? At the end of last week's parsha Terah, Avram's father, died. Were they ready for a new chapter? What are the events in a person's life that reveal sparks of the Divine?
James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902)
Abram's Counsel to Sarai, c. 1896-1902
Gouache on board
6 x 8 1/8 in. (15.2 x 20.7 cm),
Jewish Museum, New York
Jacques Joseph Tissot (15 October 1836 – 8 August 1902), Anglicized as James Tissot, was a French painter and illustrator. He was a successful painter of Paris society before moving to London in 1871. He became famous as a genre painter of fashionably dressed women shown in various scenes of everyday life. He also painted scenes and characters from the Bible.
Study the verse:
Notice what Rashi comments on:
Rashi "uses" the Midrashim that he had available in his library, and sometimes he would send to his old teachers or colleagues to find him commentaries and midrashim that he wanted to incorporate in his teachings.
Below is the Midrash that mentions Avram and Sarai converting souls in Haran. What element of the Midrash was kept in the commentary we have, as it was passed down to us? What elements and themes are kept out of the Rashi commentary? Why?
Compare Ibn Ezra and Chizkuni, two other Medieval commentators who "know" Rashi:
In the 19th Century the CHIDA wrote a Torah commentary. How does he include themes from the original MIDRASH that Rashi borrowed from? How does he use the Midrash more comprehensively?
Chomat Anakh on Torahחומת אנך על תורה
נוצר/נערך ב (1784 - 1804 לספירה בקירוב). פירוש על התנ"ך להחיד"א.
Composed in (c.1784 - c.1804 CE). Commentary on the Tanakh written by Rabbi Hayyim Joseph David Azulay (Hida). The Hida was a prominent Sephardic rabbi. Born in Jerusalem, the Hida was sent to travel Europe as an emissary from the Land of Israel.
These next two sources suggest that a mystical and magical theme of making/creating beings was already in Talmudic layers of Rabbinic text.
It is just interesting to note that RASHI did not reference any of these traditions in his commentaries despite the fact that traditions about Abraham being the author of Sefer Yetzirah were known.
ONTO CHAPTER 14 - JUST AFTER THE JOURNEY TO CANAAN, SPLITTING WAYS WITH LOT AND ESTABLISHING HIMSELF BACK IN CANAAN AFTER A SOJOURN IN EGYPT.....
Abraham rounded up 318 of his fighting men and pursued the Elamite imperial enemy who kidnapped his nephew.
The alliance with Canaanite kings whether just for expediency or to establish himself as a champion in the region stands as a core element of the Abraham narrative.
SUMMARY, chapter 14:
In the days of Lot, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Elamite king Chedorlaomer had subdued the tribes and cities surrounding the Jordan River plain. After thirteen years, four kings of the cities of the Jordan plain revolted against Chedorlaomer's rule. The revolt started with their refusal to pay tribute to King Chedorlaomer. In response, Chedorlaomer and three other northern kings started a campaign against Bera, the king of Sodom, and the three other southern kings with him
During the rebellion of the Jordan River cities against Elam, Abram's nephew, Lot, was taken prisoner along with his entire household by the invading Elamite forces. The Elamite army came to collect the spoils of war, after having just defeated the king of Sodom's armies. Lot and his family, at the time, were settled on the outskirts of the Kingdom of Sodom which made them a visible target.
One person who escaped capture came and told Abram what happened. Once Abram received this news, he immediately assembled 318 trained servants. Abram's force headed north in pursuit of the Elamite army, who were already worn down from the Battle of Siddim. When they caught up with them at Dan, Abram devised a battle plan by splitting his group into more than one unit, and launched a night raid. Not only were they able to free the captives, Abram's unit chased and slaughtered the Elamite King Chedorlaomer at Hobah, just north of Damascus. They freed Lot, as well as his household and possessions, and recovered all of the goods from Sodom that had been taken.
Let's look closely at Rashi's commentary on a few verses.
This first one helps establish the context of Abraham's relationship to the people and king of Sodom.
In the chapter before ours, 13, the People of Sodom were noted to be wicked. The King, on the other hand, in chapter 14 was turned into a believer.
Why was Avraham called the IVRI?
“Avram the Hebrew was told.” Rabbi Yehudah, Rabbi Nechemyah, and the sages [disagree]. Rabbi Yehudah says: the entire world is on one side and he is on the other side [the word for “side” in Hebrew is מעבר , which stems from the same root עבר ]. Rabbi Nechemyah says: Because he is of the descendants of Ever [the son of Shem, the son of Noah]. The sages say: he is from the other side of the river and that he speaks in the Hebrew tongue.
Maerten van Heemskerck, 16th century
Abraham Receiving the Blessing of Melchizedek
oil on panel
99 × 105.5 cm.
Maerten van Heemskerck, (born 1498, Heemskerck, Holland—died 1574, Haarlem), one of the leading Mannerist painters in 16th-century Holland working in the Italianate manner.
He spent a period (c. 1528) in the Haarlem studio of Jan van Scorel, then lately returned from Italy. Van Heemskerck’s earliest works—“Ecce Homo” (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Ghent) and “St. Luke Painting the Portrait of the Virgin” (Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem), both dated 1532—while adhering closely to the Romanist style of Scorel, seek to outdo it by dramatic lighting and illusionistic effects of plasticity.
From 1532 to 1535 he was in Rome, recording in innumerable sketches, some of which are preserved in Berlin, the architecture and sculpture of classical antiquity and the painting of the High Renaissance. Of the latter he directed his attention particularly to the frescoes of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel and those of Raphael in the Villa Farnesina.