May 25, 2018 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Lech Lecha

There’s much talk of names in Parshah Lech Lecha, with Abram and Sarai becoming Abraham and Sarah, and God being identified by different names as well. Perhaps lost in the shuffle is the identification of “Abram the Hebrew” (“Avram ha’Ivri”) in Gen. 14:13. What does it mean? The ancient Israelites refer to themselves as Hebrews (Ivrim) when dealing with foreigners, and some relate it to references to a group known as “Hapiru” in ancient texts. The rabbis have different notions. Some suggest it means a descendent of Eber, a grandson of Noah. Others relate it to the Hebrew word “eiver” meaning “beyond.” Even there, opinions differ. Some think it’s physical (the people from beyond the Euphrates) while others think it’s philosophical (Abram only worships one God while most people remain pagans). We’re invited to consider all these meanings – and others if you have them – as we follow the story of the founder of our people.


Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld

Joined: August 8, 2007

Shmuel is Rabbi of Ohev Sholom -- The National Synagogue, the oldest Orthodox synagogue in Washington, DC. His communal responsibilities include teaching classes, coordinating adult education, creating programs for the elderly,the youth, and the sick, and ministering to the pastoral needs of the...

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