Monday, November 2, 2009


We learned a lot about the power of words in the first few portions of the Torah. We learned that words can create whole worlds, that they can harm, they can confuse, they can clarify, they can be a source of unity or of divisiveness. This parasha can be seen to expand on that theme.

Words can change the world, as suggested in this commentary from the Jewish Coalition for Service.

Words can be only the surface - real meaning involves deeper listening, as you can read here. What does it mean to really listen?

Words can be misunderstood, as suggested in this commentary from United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. What if Abraham didn't hear God correctly?

Finally, back to the power of words, what can we learn from the use of the phrase "lech lecha" here, when God is telling Abraham to take his son to Moriah? Haven't we heard this phrase before? Where? Compare and contrast the two places it is used.

Once again we are faced with a parasha which could easily be studied over the course of weeks. If you are teaching parshat hashavua in you classroom, which of the stories in this parasha will you choose? Why?

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