Monday, November 3, 2014

Lech L'cha

Genesis 12:1−17:27

Rabbi Lewis Eron for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities

Abraham the Warrior

Abraham the warrior! Could there be a more unlikely picture? Hardly. Yet, embedded in this week's Torah portion is a strange and ancient story of our the founder of our faith as a mighty warrior -- a noble desert sheik -- leading his men out to battle to rescue his nephew Lot and free Canaan from foreign overlords. A Jew in armor! This is not the image we have a Jewish hero, particularly when this Jew is the founding figure of our faith.

Our tradition is not a militaristic one. We have no tradition of knighthood. We hold ways of peace to be more precious than feats of valor. Our sages exhort us to be disciple of Aaron, the one who pursued peace, and not followers of Joshua, the conqueror of the Promised Land. Yet, in the middle of Parashat Lech Lecha, the Torah portion that introduces us to Abraham and his story, we meet Abraham the warrior. As unusual and surprising as this encounter maybe, it is very important because it presents through Abraham's deeds and words the groundwork for our people's understanding of the role of warfare and the warrior.

The strange account of Abraham the Warrior reflects the political and military instability prevalent in Canaan during the time of our patriarchs. After many years of domination by a coalition of Mesopotamian monarchs, the kings of the Canaanite city-states rise in revolt. The Mesopotamian invaders overwhelm the Canaanite alliance in battle just south of the Dead Sea and capture the Canaanite leaders including Abraham's nephew Lot, who joined the Canaanite King of Sodom in the fight.
By Julie Levine for Raising Kvell

During the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, or MarCheshvan, [Bitter Cheshvan] there are no Jewish holidays. Jvillage Network, therefore, will be printing articles relating to Jewish Arts.

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