YOUTH/TEEN Select Section WEEKLY Parasha Parshat Vayeira Language : english, french SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

Select Section WEEKLY Parshat Vayeira language hebrew,french,english,spanish,german,russian, Machon Meir, CHABAD,The Jewish Woman,YOUTH/TEENS SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES

Being a Man

Why is 13 the age for a Bar Mitzvah?

By Charlie and Moshe Harary

Popular Birthright Israel & Jerusalem videos


Machon Meir is a Center for Jewish Studies that is located in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel in the neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe. It was established by Rabbi Dov Bigon shortly after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Rabbi Bigon was a commander in the Israeli Defense Force that helped liberate Jerusalem and the Western Wall from the Jordanian Legion. After the war he began to contemplate the meaning of the Jewish Nation and decided to enroll himself in the Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Machon Meir for over the last 35 years has been a place for all of Am Yisrael to come and learn more about their Jewish roots. It is a place to get a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the Nation of Israel and the importance of living in the Land of Israel. Since its inception it has grown to become more than just a center for Jewish learning. It now has expanded into a facility that has over 600 students with classes in Hebrew, English, Russian, French and Spanish. Its main student body is made up of Israelis, which is great for the student from abroad to be able to get a first hand feel of what the Israeli Religious culture is like. It also has thousands of Alumni who frequently visit Machon Meir and stay in personal contact with their Rabbis.
It has also opened up a Religious Zionist seminary for women speakers of Hebrew, Spanish and Russian called Machon Ora. If you would like to visit their website go to ttp://

Machon Meir is also the only place in Jerusalem which offers Kosher, Torani Ulpan classes for men only to learn Hebrew. These classes take place during the afternoon hours Sunday-Wednesday. If you would like to visit their website go to ttp://

Machon Meir has become known throughout Israel as the place to go to learn more and grow as a Jewish person and member of Am Yisrael. It has also become the landing point for many new immigrants from all the countries in the Diaspora because of its value on full integration into Israeli society and the encouragement to be a part of the Israeli Defense Force.

Bat Mitzvah NY Shabbaton – Chabad of Dollard

The Bat Mitzvah Girls enjoyed an amazing weekend in New York!

Sami and Tuvia – Who’s Bike is it Anyway? – Part I

Judaism for Kids – Sami and Tuvia – Who’s Bike is it Anyway? Part I
Sami finds a bike by the dumpster, which he thinks was sent just for him. Little does he know that this bike belongs to someone else and is very important to him. What is Sami to do when he finds out someone is looking for this bike?

The Ultimate in Jewish Rock

Popular Yeshivat Lev Hatorah videos

Chabad House Bowery

כוכבית אתרוג

תלמוד תורה יסדת עוז תשעד

Yavneh Hebrew Academy

Popular Shabbaton & NCSY videos

Celebrate 60 years of NCSY at the historic Shabbaton this Spring. Sign up online at your regional website or go to

Popular Shabbaton & Chabad videos

A fantastic group of Young Adults from Chabad NDG in the heart of Montreal’s trendy Monkland Village went down to Crown Heights, New York for an incredible Shabbaton weekend. It was the best of both the physical and spiritual worlds. This is a 6 minute documentary of our journey, reflections and inspiration
s… hope you enjoy it!

Filmed by Rabbi Yisroel Bernath on Canon Powershot SD1400 IS
Edited in iMovie for iPhone

Mitzvah Boulevard #3 – Shabbos Trailer

The Yeshiva Boys Choir

Parshat Vayeira: Hagar and Ishmael

There’s so much to see in this week’s parsha that Evan Wolkenstein, experiential educator, decides to zoom in and focus on the story of two relatively minor characters. (Although one of them – baby Ishmael – is an actual minor. Snort.)

This is Episode 4 of the weekly Torah cartoon from Each week, a different storyteller – some musical, some poetic, some just straight-up, tell the story of the current Torah portion…and then we animate it!

סיפור ילדותי


Torah Aura Productions

Started in 1981, Torah Aura Productions is one of the world’s most innovative creators of educational Judaica. We have produced animated segments on the weekly Torah Portion (Torah-Toons), the Weekly Torah Fax (Learn Torah With…) engaging values programs (You Be the Judge) and Talmud with Training Wheels–the most creative series on ancient texts ever produced.
Since its inception Torah Aura Productions has found and produced innovative solutions to Jewish Educational problems. It has a reputation of producing both high quality and unique resources. Founded as a partnership of three camp friends, Torah Aura has a proud history of being authentic, motivating, and original. It is the source of the most respected materials in Jewish education.

La Paracha avec Boubach saison — !!

La paracha #3 : Lekh Lekha

Quitte ta maison, quitte ton père, quitte ton pays et pars vers l’inconnu.
Avouez qu’il en faut de la foi pour obéir sans douter. Bah c’est qu’Abram qui deviendra Abraham à la fin c’est pas n’importe qui comme vous allez le constater.

Le premier des trois patriarches, c’est maintenant, bonne écoute !

Paracha …..Rosée de Miel

Parashas para niños

Un Cafe Con Dios

David Ben Yosef

Benny Hershcovich


Cheshvan 12, 5775 · November 5, 2014
Living with the Parshah: Cooking For Guests

Danny casually threw a towel over his shoulder as he walked into the living room and headed towards the front door of the house. “I’m off swimming,” he announced to the room.

Melissa looked up from her comfortable position, sprawled out on the couch with a book cupped in her hand. “Why don’t you stay around to help, Danny? Mom was counting on both of us helping her prepare for Shabbat.”

“Why does she need help all of a sudden?” Danny turned to face his sister and asked indignantly, “Since when is it a guy’s job to help cook, anyways?”

“Of course it is,” replied Melissa, not giving up. “If you eat, you help! And anyway, you know this week is special. All your cousins are coming to stay and Mummy is making special food because they are guests – so we need your help.”

“Oh,” Danny laughed, “I am sure that you will do just fine without me. I don’t know the first thing about cooking.” And he turned towards the door and opened it, ready to leave.

Melissa hated being ignored. “Danny!” she almost shouted.

“Yes!” replied Danny, a bit irritated.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scream,” Melissa calmed down a little. “Look,” she continued, “it’s a good deed to help prepare for guests.

“The Torah tells us how Abraham, our forefather, saw some angels, who he thought were regular travelers, coming towards his tent. What did he do? He invited them in, gave them water to wash their feet, and even though he was not well, recovering frombrit mila – he personally prepared a whole meal for them, with meat and everything in it!”

“I do remember learning something about that,” Danny admitted, gloomily aware that she was winning the argument.

“Well, yes, it is actually in this week’s Torah portion. And guess what? Abraham was definitely a guy,” Melissa humorously replied.

Danny smiled, giving in. “But of course I remember, how could I forget? I guess I will just have to call my friends and cancel swimming,” he said, putting the towel down on a chair and picking up the cordless phone from its base next to the couch.

“Hello, Simon?” he said into the phone after a moment. “Yes, this is Danny… I’m sorry but I’ve just realized that I have some guests to take care of tonight… Yes, swimming? We can go another night… Yes, thanks. Goodnight.” He winked at Melissa as he put the cordless down back in its base.

“C’mon, Miss Energetic, let’s go cook the feast!” Update

Showcase your Achievements and Win a Trip to NYC!

Cheshvan 9, 5775 · November 2, 2014
Hey Kids!

We’re excited to debut our international competition, celebrating the Power of Jewish Children! Power of Jewish Children is an award recognizing youth who have enhanced their communities through outstanding achievement.Children under 14 can share their achievements or nominate an individual who is making a difference in the world for a chance to win a trip to New York City, where generous prizes will be distributed at an exciting awards dinner. Dozens of submissions have been pouring in; when will you submit your entry?We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Have a great week,

Your friends at

This Week’s Features

Watch Watch (2:50)
Listen Listen (1:10), , Machon Meir , and more… WEEKLY Parasha Parshat Vayeira , Language : english,SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES


Select Section WEEKLY Parshat Vayeira language hebrew,french,english,spanish,german,russian, Machon Meir, CHABAD,The Jewish Woman,YOUTH/TEENS SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES


Machon Meir

Parshat Pekudei (10/03/10)  Machon MeirMachon Meir  ENGLISH  :MeirTV English

Rabbi Dov Begon

For over 35 years, Machon Meir has become known throughout Israel as the place to get a deeper understanding what it truly means to be a member of the Jewish people. It has also become the landing point for many new immigrants from all over the world because of the institute’s encouragement of living in the Land of Israel. Machon Meir has also created a strategy to distribute Torah worldwide through their media channel, Arutz Meir. Since it began, Arutz Meir has debuted a range of television series and archived over 25,000 classes which are constantly being updated and viewed daily throughout the world in 5 different languages. With a variety of topics and discussions led by renowned Jewish scholars, our viewers will surely find a class that will create sparks of inspiration. Whether you are looking to connect to your Jewish heritage or you are simply seeking out answers, we exist to imbue the words of Torah and engage our viewers with real and meaningful

Paracha Pekoude (01/03/11)  Machon MeirMachon Meir MeirTvFrench

Rabbi Dov Begon

Les secrets jamais dévoilés de l’histoire du peuple de juif “Cain et Abel”Rav: Mr. Rony Akrich

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   MeirTvRussian

Rabbi Dov Begon

Rabbi Dov Begon

“За чашкой чая”
Беседа в тёплой, неформальной обстановке о том,
как современный интеллигентный слушатель воспринимает нашу традицию.
В передаче мы попробуем получить ответы на непростые вопросы,
которые еврейский народ задаёт уже не первое тысячелетие.
Присоединяйтесь, приходите к нам на чашечку чая.
Не стесняйтесь, чувствуйте себя как дома!
Из цикла передач “За Чашкой Чая” 96-го канала из Иерусалима.
Наша Традиция на вашем языке!

  Machon MeirMachon Meir   ESPAÑOL MeirTvSpanish
Por más de 35 años, Machon Meir ha dado a conocer a través de Israel como el lugar para obtener una comprensión más profunda lo que realmente significa ser un miembro del pueblo judío. También se ha convertido en el punto de aterrizaje para muchos nuevos inmigrantes de todas partes del mundo, porque de aliento de la vida en la Tierra de Israel del instituto. Majón Meir también ha creado una estrategia para distribuir la Torá en todo el mundo a través de su canal de medios, Arutz Meir. Desde sus inicios, Arutz Meir ha estrenado una serie de series de televisión y archivado más de 25.000 clases que constantemente se están actualizando y ver todos los días en todo el mundo en 5 idiomas diferentes. Con una variedad de temas y discusiones dirigidas por renombrados eruditos judíos, nuestros televidentes seguramente encontrará una clase que va a crear chispas de inspiración.

 Rabino Rafael Spangenthal



  Machon MeirMachon Meir   עברית    Rabbi Dov Bigon

Rabbi Eran Tamir

Machon Meir




24JEWISH Parshat Hashavuah, Rabbanim, rav Reuben Ebrahimoff , language english, SHIURIM & COMMENTARIES


Did Abraham’s Angels Really Eat or Did They Just Pretend?

Cheshvan 12, 5775 · November 5, 2014
This Week’s Features

By Moishe New
Watch Watch (5:28)

The Talmud on Elijah the Prophet Announcing Moshiach’s Arrival

By Binyomin Bitton
Watch Watch (52:17)

The small cruse of oil

By Chana Weisberg
Watch Watch (5:13)

A 90 second insight on the parsha

By Chony Milecki and Benny Friedman
Watch Watch (1:46)

Life Lessons from Parshat Vayeira

By Yehoshua B. Gordon
Watch Watch (19:48)

Chabad Melodies: Tzamah, Stav-Yapitu, Darkecha, Ki-Anu

Watch Watch (15:25)

Learn a page of gemara each day

By Avraham Meyer Zajac

PARSHAH PICKS: Believing Again (Vayeira)

Cheshvan 12, 5775 · November 5, 2014
General Overview:


In this week’s Torah reading, Vayeira, angels visit Abraham and Sarah, informing them that Sarah would give birth to a child despite her advanced age. The angels whisk Lot and his daughters out of Sodom, and overturn and destroy the entire region. Abimelech, king of the Philistines, attempts to make Sarah part of his harem, but through divine intervention she is released unharmed. Isaac is born and Ishmael is expelled from Abraham’s household. Abraham makes a peace treaty with Abimelech. The story of the “Binding of Isaac” is recounted – Isaac’s “near-sacrifice” experience.


This Week’s Features  

By Levi Avtzon

Genesis 18:1–22:24

Abraham is visited by three angels and is promised a son. The city of Sodom is destroyed, and Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt. Sarah gives birth to Isaac at the age of 90, Hagar and Ishmael are banished, and G‑d orders Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.

I read how Lot is saved and his wife turns into a pillar of salt. And I search to see my life in these words. I’d rather not see it, of course, as the connection is too intense, too real, too true

By Sara Esther Crispe
Walking the paths of Auschwitz, I began to doubt humanity and its Creator. I felt suspended in a world I could not comprehend…

By Yosef Lewis
Torah does not tell us what the tests actually were. There are actually a number of schools of thought about this. Here are some.

By Menachem Posner
The deeper meaning of Abraham’s request to his wife — “Say that you are my sister.” Presenter: Rabbi Kaplan

Watch Watch (2:53)

How to Study Torah – Vayeira

We study the enigmatic story of the Akeida with a special focus on Abraham’s response when G-d stops him at the last moment.

By Mendel Kaplan
Watch Watch (1:09:34)

Vayeira Parshah Report

Why is Gefilte Fish tied to a tree in Central Park? Find out in this exclusive news report for Parshat Vayeira!

Dovid Taub & Jonathan Goorvich
Watch Watch (2:50)
An overview of the weekly Parshah, through the eyes of the many commentators, enriching your understanding of how our great history unfolded.

By Marty Goodman
Download Download   Listen Listen (1:34:13)
Examining the weekly Torah reading through the lens of contemporary commentary, showing how topical and relevant the parshah’s ideas really are. Both mystical and pragmatic, this lesson will elevate your spirit and refine your view of the world around you.

By Mendel Kaplan
Download Download   Listen Listen (53:15)

CHASSIDIC DIMENSION: Two Forms of Kindness (Vayeira)

Cheshvan 13, 5775 · November 6, 2014
Vayeira – Two Forms of Kindness


The Torah portion of Vayeira begins by relating that G-d appeared to Avraham at the entrance of his tent. But when Avraham observed three strangers standing nearby, he got up, asked G-d to wait, and ran to greet the strangers and offer them hospitality.1

Thus, for the sake of hospitality to strangers, Avraham left G-d waiting. Indeed, our Sages glean from Avraham’s conduct that “Hospitality to wayfarers is even greater than receiving the Divine Presence.”2

Such hospitable behavior has become an integral part of Jewish conduct — another example of the abovementioned pattern described by our Rabbis.

Yet Avraham himself had no such commandment. What led him to feel that it was proper to forsake G-d for the sake of strangers?

Kindness toward others can be motivated by either magnanimity or humility:3

An example of the former would be the favor shown by a great king or wealthy individual. Their feelings of self-worth and importance lead them to act in a generous and benevolent manner, “showering beneficence on all.”

An example of kindness that results from humility is the charity exhibited by Avraham, who said of himself: “I am mere earth and ashes.”4 Because he felt himself to be less significant than all others, he felt it natural to extend kindness and honor to all.5

Kindness that results from such self-effacement is superior to that which emanates from magnanimity in two important ways:

Kindness that comes from the feeling that everyone else is more worthy will cause an individual to give everything away to others, sustaining himself on their leavings. But kindness that stems from magnanimity will see the giver keeping the lion’s share for himself, giving only the leavings to others.

Moreover, magnanimous kindness is only extended when the benefactor will not suffer from his own generosity. Self-effacing kindness, on the other hand, will inspire a person to give even when doing so causes him suffering and deprivation.

Because Avraham’s kindness and hospitality stemmed from humility and self-effacement, he not only placed his physical life in jeopardy by battling mighty kings to save the lives of others,6 but was even prepared to put his spiritual life in jeopardy — something much more important to him than his physical life.

This superior brand of kindness is what motivated Avraham to leave G-d waiting while he went to greet passing strangers.

The above sheds light on a saying of our Sages, who note7 that: “In the merit of our father Avraham saying ‘I am mere earth and ashes,’ his children merited the commandments of the ashes of the Red Heifer and the earth of Sotah [used in the ritual of examining a suspected adulteress].”

It is axiomatic that “G-d rewards measure for measure.”8 Aside from the innocuous connection of the words “earth” and “ashes,” what inner relationship exists between Avraham’s statement and the two abovementioned commandments?

The connection is as follows: the performance of both these commandments is bound up with the humility and spiritual self-sacrifice that come from the awareness that one is “mere earth and ashes.”

The ashes of the Red Heifer, used to purify individuals defiled by contact with the dead, caused some of those involved in its preparation to themselves become mildly defiled.9Thus, purifying an individual with the ashes of a Red Heifer necessitated a spiritual self-sacrifice upon the part of those who did the purifying.

The ashes of Sotah were also used in a ceremony that necessitated spiritual self-sacrifice, for the ritual required the erasing of the Divine Name. For the sake of bringing peace between husband and wife, the Torah indicates that G-d’s name may be erased10 — an act of self-sacrifice that echoes the kindness of Avraham.

Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XXV, pp. 79-83.

TORAH STUDIES: Parshat Vayeira

Cheshvan 12, 5775 · November 5, 2014

In this Sidra, we read of G-d’s appearance to Abraham after his circumcision. But why was his circumcision so great an act as to merit such a reward? This is the question that the Rebbe answers, and explains in depth the special relationship between the Jew and G-d which is reached by the performance of the commandment.

1. The Story of the Fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe

The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, told a story1 about something that had happened to his father, Rabbi Shalom DovBer,2 when he was a child of four or five. The Shabbat on which the Sidra Vayera was read was the Shabbat closest to Rabbi Shalom DovBer’s birthday;3 and to mark the occasion he was taken by his mother to see his grandfather, the Tzemach Tzedek (the third Lubavitcher Rebbe), to receive a birthday blessing. But as soon as he entered the room, the little boy burst into tears. His grandfather asked why he was crying. He replied that he had learned in Cheder (class) that G-d had revealed Himself to Abraham, and he was crying because G-d does not also reveal Himself to him.

His grandfather explained: When a Jew who is ninety-nine years old decides that he must circumcise himself, then he is worthy that G-d should reveal Himself to him.

There is, however, another version of this story (Rabbi Shalom DovBer, being a little boy at the time, did not remember the incident, and knew the story—in two versions—only from Chassidim who had been present), according to which his grandfather’s reply was: When a righteous Jew who is ninety-nine years old decides that he must circumcise himself, then he is worthy that G-d should reveal Himself to him.

2. The Meaning of Circumcision

What was the significance of this act of Abraham? Even when a Jew is ninety-nine, and not merely in calendrical years, but in uninterrupted years of service (for when the Torah describes Abraham as “advanced in days,” the Zohar4 comments that this means that each day was complete in its service), he is still bound to circumcise himself, meaning, spiritually, to remove the “foreskin” of the world, that surface of selfish pleasures which conceals its true nature as the Divine creation. For it is written in Pirkei Avot,5 “When a man is one hundred, it is as if he were already dead and passed away and removed from the world.” In other words, at such a point, in age or in spirit, when the world no longer masks the Divine, a man has achieved the inner meaning of circumcision. But before this, even by one year or one degree of holiness, the task remains unfulfilled.

3. Circumcision and Abraham’s Perfection

There is a special connection between Abraham and circumcision. For it is said6 that six commandments were given to Adam; a seventh was given to Noah… and in addition to these a new commandment was given to Abraham—that of circumcision. Since the command was first given to Abraham, it must have had a particular relevance to him; from which it follows that his circumcision did not just add something to ninety-nine years of complete service, but that until then his life was lacking its central component. This is reinforced by the fact that, in reference to the command of circumcision, G-d says to Abraham, “Be thou perfect,” implying that hitherto Abraham had been marred, his service incomplete.7

4. The Works of the Fathers

The circumcision of Abraham has an even deeper significance. On the one hand, it is known that the commandments which we (subsequent to the Giving of the Torah) fulfill are far higher than those which the Fathers fulfilled before the Torah was given, so much so that the Midrash8 can say: All the commandments which the Fathers kept before You are like the aroma (of fine oil), whereas ours are like “oil poured forth.” What the Fathers did was, compared to our own acts, like an aroma compared to its source, like an emanation compared to its essence.

This is because what the Fathers fulfilled, they did from their own strength and inclination (as when Abraham initiated the morning prayer, and Isaac the tithe), rather than in response to the Divine command. For when, after the Giving of the Torah, we keep one of the commandments, we are thereby related to He who commanded. And this is the essence of G-d, for He gave the Torah with the opening words “I (in My essence) am the L-rd your G-d.” This relation permanently changes the world, investing it with a timeless holiness. But the spontaneous righteousness of the Fathers was not a response to a command. It did not relate them to the essence of G-d. And therefore the holiness of their acts was only temporary in its effect on the world.

Nonetheless, we have the maxim, “The works of the Fathers are a sign for the children,” meaning that the spiritual resources that we have in being able to keep the commandments are an inheritance from the virtue of the Fathers before the Torah was given. How was this transmitted if, as it seems, there is no connection between the commands before and after Sinai? However, one command bears this connection, and this was circumcision; because it alone was commanded by G-d to Abraham (albeit not prefaced by the disclosure of His essence, “I am the L-rd your G-d”); and therefore its effect on this world persisted through time. This is the connecting link between all the acts of the Fathers and the later capacity of the Children of Israel to do G-d’s will: Abraham’s circumcision endured in its merit.

5. Making Good the Past

Now we can understand that Abraham’s decision to circumcise himself after ninety-nine years of service was not simply to add something which would make all his subsequent life complete, but rather retroactively to remedy his previous defect.

This applies to all who have yet to reach the stage of “one hundred years”: Not merely to add to their service but to bring their previous deficiencies to perfection.

6. The Two Versions of the Story

Now we can understand the meaning of both versions of the Tzemach Tzedek’s reply to Rabbi Shalom DovBer.

The second version teaches us that it is binding even on the righteous man to undergo (the spiritual analogue of) circumcision; how much more so is it binding on the ordinary Jew.

But how can the first version stand? Is it not included a fortiori in the second? Also—Abraham was a righteous Jew even before his circumcision (he merely lacked the predicate of perfection). How then could he be called an “ordinary Jew”?

The answer is: Abraham’s act of circumcision was a response to the Divine command and related to the deepest aspects of G-dliness. So that this summoned forth the deepest powers of the soul, at which level there is no distinction between the righteous and the ordinary, and where the distinguishing characteristics of men are effaced.

In short, the second version takes the surface point of view where the righteous is distinguished from the others, (and therefore emphasizes the duty of a righteous man); the first, the deeper one where all Jewish souls are equal in their source.

7. A Relationship Above Time

Underlying the idea of the merit of Abraham’s circumcision is that of the eternal worth of every act of service—it unites commander, commanded and commandment in a bond above time.9 But despite the fact that this bond exists even for the unrighteous, (for “even the sinners of Israel are full of Mitzvot”),10 Abraham’s act reminds us that even the righteous has constantly to renew it, by “removing the foreskin of the world”; and when he does so, his reward will be that granted to Abraham: The prophetic awareness of G-d.

(Source: Likkutei Sichot, Vol. V pp. 86-91)


Cheshvan 12, 5775 · November 5, 2014
Genesis 18:1-22:24

G-d reveals Himself to Abraham three days after the first Jew’s circumcision at age 99; but Abraham rushes off to prepare a meal for threeguests who appear in the desert heat. One of the three — who are angels disguised as men — announces that, in exactly one year, the barren Sarah will give birth to a son. Sarahlaughs.

Abraham pleads with G-d to spare the wicked city of Sodom. Two of the three disguised angels arrive in the doomed city, where Abraham’s nephew, Lot, extends his hospitality to them and protects them from the evil intentions of a Sodomite mob. The two guests reveal that they have come to overturn the place, and to save Lot and his family. Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt when she disobeys the command not to look back at the burning city as they flee.

While taking shelter in a cave, Lot’s two daughters (believing that they and their father are the only ones left alive in the world) get their father drunk, lie with him, and become pregnant. The two sons born from this incident father the nations of Moab and Amon.

Abraham moves to Gerar, where the Philistine king Avimelech takes Sarah — who is presented as Abraham’s sister — to his palace. In a dream, G-d warns Avimelech that he will die unless he returns the woman to her husband. Abraham explains that he feared he would be killed over the beautiful Sarah.

G-d remembers His promise to Sarah and gives her and Abraham a son, who is named Isaac (Yitzchak, meaning “will laugh”). Isaac is circumcised at the age of eight days; Abraham is 100 years old, and Sarah 90, at their child’s birth.

Hagar and Ishmael are banished from Abraham’s home and wander in the desert; G-d hears the cry of the dying lad and saves his life by showing his mother a well. Avimelech makes a treaty with Abraham at Be’er Sheva, where Abraham gives himseven sheep as a sign of their truce.

G-d tests Abraham’s devotion by commanding him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. Isaac is bound and placed on the altar, and Abraham raises the knife to slaughter his son. A voice from heaven calls to stop him; a ram, caught in the undergrowth by its horns, is offered in Isaac’s place. Abraham receives the news of the birth of a daughter, Rebecca, to his nephew Bethuel.

WEEKLY ALIYOT: Parshat Vayeira

Vayeira Aliya Summary

General Overview: In this week’s Torah reading, Vayeira, angels visit Abraham and Sarah, informing them that Sarah would give birth to a child despite her advanced age. The angels whisk Lot and his daughters out of Sodom, and overturn and destroy the entire region. Abimelech, king of the Philistines, attempts to make Sarah part of his harem, but through divine intervention she is released unharmed. Isaac is born and Ishmael is expelled from Abraham’s household. Abraham makes a peace treaty with Abimelech. The story of the “Binding of Isaac” is recounted – Isaac’s “near-sacrifice” experience.

First Aliyah: G‑d paid Abraham a visit, as he sat at the entrance of his tent. Abraham suddenly noticed three travelers passing by, and ran to invite them into his home. These passersby, who were actually angels in human disguise, accepted the invitation, and Abraham and Sarah prepared a sumptuous feast for them. The angels informed Abraham that Sarah would give birth to a child exactly one year later. Eighty-nine-year-old, post-menopausal Sarah, who was standing nearby, heard this assurance, and laughed. G‑d was displeased with Sarah’s lack of faith.

Second Aliyah: The angels departed, with Abraham escorting them on their journey. Their destination: the Sodom region; their mission: to destroy the five cities of the region, and rescue Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and his family, who resided there. G‑d informed Abraham of His intention to destroy Sodom because of the great evil of its inhabitants. Abraham attempted to save the region, asking that it be spared if it contains fifty righteous people. When it was apparent that this was not the case, Abraham “bargains” with G‑d – eventually asking Him to spare Sodom even if there are only ten righteous individuals there, but even ten were not to be found.

Third Aliyah: The angels arrived in Sodom, and Lot invited them to his home to eat and rest. Word of Lot’s guests spread throughout the city – a city that abhorred all acts of kindness – and the incensed residents of Sodom surrounded Lot’ house, with intent to assault the guests. Lot refused the demands that he surrender his guests, and – as the Sodomites prepared to break down the door – the angels struck all those surrounding the house with blindness. The angels informed Lot of their mission, and encouraged him to flee. Lot, his wife, and two of his daughters were escorted out of the city to safety, and were warned not to look back as the city was being destroyed.

Fourth Aliyah: G‑d rained fire and sulfur on Sodom, and then overturned the entire region. Lot’s wife looked back, and was transformed into a pillar of salt. Lot and his daughters took shelter in a cave. Assuming that the entire world was destroyed, Lot’s daughter’s intoxicated their father with wine, and seduced him – in order to repopulate the world. They each gave birth to a son – the antecedents of the Ammonite and Moabite nations. Abraham relocated to the Philistine city of Gerar. Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, took Sarah – who was presented as Abraham’s sister – to his palace. G‑d afflicted the members of Abimelech’s palace with a disease, and appeared to Abimelech in a dream warning him to return Sarah to her husband, Abraham. Abimelech obeyed, and also showered Abraham and Sarah with gifts, and he and his household were healed. Sarah conceived, and at the age of ninety gave birth to a son, who was named Isaac. Abraham circumcised Isaac when he was eight days old.

Fifth Aliyah: Isaac grew, and Sarah noticed that Ishmael, Isaac’s older half-brother, was a potentially negative influence on her young child. She demanded of Abraham to expel Ishmael, along with his mother Hagar, from the household. Despite Abraham’s initial misgivings, G‑d tells him: “Whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her voice!” Hagar and Ishmael wandered in the desert and eventually ran out of water. Ishmael was about to perish from thirst when an angel “opened Hagar’s eyes” and showed her a well of water. Ishmael grew up in the desert and became a skilled archer.

Sixth Aliyah: At that point, Abimelech approached Abraham and requested to enter into a treaty with him, whereby neither party will harm the other for three generations. Abraham agreed, but reprimanded Abimelech concerning a well of water which he had dug which was stolen by Abimelech’s subjects. Abraham set apart seven ewes, telling Abimelech to take them as a testimony that he, Abraham, dug the well. Abraham planted an orchard and established an inn in Beer Sheba and proclaimed the name of G‑d to all passersby.

Seventh Aliyah: G‑d commanded Abraham to take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice on a mountain. Abraham took along Isaac and necessary provisions, and set out for the mountain. They arrived and Abraham built the altar and bound Isaac. As Abraham stretched out his hand to take the slaughtering knife, an angel ordered him to desist. Abraham offered a ram, which was caught in a nearby thicket, in lieu of his son. G‑d promised Abraham great blessings as a reward for passing this difficult test. After these events, Abraham was notified that his sister-in-law had given birth to children. One of these children, Bethuel, was the father of Rebecca, Isaac’s future wife.

ESSAY: Can a Change of Name Create a Change of Destiny?

Can a Change of Name Create a Change of Destiny?
Cheshvan 11, 5775 · November 4, 2014
“Your name shall be Abraham, for Sarah is her name”


What’s in a name?

Have you ever thought about what influence your name has on you—on your personality, behavior patterns and life choices?

A growing body of research suggests that an individual’s name can have a profound impact that can reverberate from childhood to adulthood. A study by professors at the University of Melbourne and New York University found that people with simple, easy-to-pronounce names are more likely to be favored for a promotion at work. “The impact of names comes from how people expect to see you,” says a professor from Ohio University. And while pre-judging people based on their name might seem unfair, we sometimes do so subconsciously when making decisions.

An individual’s name can have a profound impact

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal describes how in Thailand, when faced with a patch of bad luck, many are changing their names to create better prospects. Businesses advising Thais how to choose new names are becoming a booming new industry.

So research indicates that a person’s name can even affect career choices. But is the significance of a name just about perceptions, or is there something innately spiritual about the name itself that has a power over the individual?

Names are considered very significant in Judaism. Your Jewish name is the channel by which life reaches you from Above. In fact, the Kabbalists say that when parents name a child, they experience a minor prophecy—because, somehow, that child’s destiny is wrapped up in the combination of Hebrew letters that make up his or her name. The sages of the Midrash recommend that “one should name one’s child after a righteous person, for sometimes the name influences the person’s behavior and destiny” (Midrash Tanchuma, Haazinu 7).

If a name has an intrinsic effect on the person, can a change of name change one’s destiny?

Changing one’s name to create a change of fortune actually has its roots in Judaism. That’s why if someone is dangerously ill, we might provide him with an additional name, like Chaim (or Chaya), meaning “life,” or Refael (or Refaela), “cure.”

The first recorded story of a name change that led to an incredible change of destiny was

If someone is dangerously ill, we might provide him with an additional name

that of Sarah and Abraham.The episode took place when Abraham was 90 years old. G‑d appeared to him and told him that He would be making an everlasting covenant with him, and that he and Sarah would be blessed with a child of their own. Let’s see how the text reads:

And Abram was ninety-nine years old, and G‑d appeared to Abram, and He said to him, “I am the Almighty God; walk before Me and be perfect. And I will place My covenant between Me and between you, and I will multiply you very greatly… And your name shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings will emerge from you. (Gen. 17: 1-2, 4-5)

G‑d then commanded Abraham that he and all his male children should be circumcised as a sign of the covenant. His wife’s name, Sarai, should also be changed, and then she would experience the miracle of childbirth despite her old age.

And G‑d said to Abraham, “Your wife Sarai–you shall not call her name Sarai, for Sarah is her name. And I will bless her, and I will give you a son from her, and I will bless her, and she will become a mother of nations; kings of nations will be from her.” And Abraham fell on his face and rejoiced, and he said to himself, “Will a child be born to one who is a hundred years old, and will Sarah, who is ninety years old, give birth?” (Gen. 17: 15-17)

The Talmud explains that Abraham and Sarah’s change of name created a change in their status–rather than a particular mission, they now assumed a universal mission. The Talmud (Brachot 13a) explains:

Abram who is Abraham. In the beginning he was the father to Aram, in the end he became the father of the world. Sarai, this is Sarah. In the beginning she was Sarai to this nation and in the end she became Sarah to the whole world.


Rather than a particular mission, they now assumed a universal mission

means “Av Ram,” father of Aram, since he originated from the city of Aram Naharayim. His name was changed to Abraham, “Av Hamon Goyim,” father of a multitude of nations.The Malbim (Gen. 17:15) expounds:

Sarai, given her name by Abraham, means “Sharasi Sheli,” my princess and superior. Abraham was now commanded that in his new status of“Av Hamon Goyim,” the father of a multitude of nations, his wife, too, was to take on a more universal status which would be reflected in the name, Sarah, princess par excellence and not just princess of Abraham.

Let’s take a closer look at the text describing these name changes. G‑d told Abraham, “Your name shall become Abraham.” Regarding Sarah’s name change, on the other hand, the text reads, “Sarah is her name.”

Abraham required an added dimension and spiritual transformation to become Abraham. Sarah, though, already was Sarah.

The Talmud (Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 2;6) explains:

Rabbi Huna said, quoting Rabbi Acha: The letter yud which was removed from Sarai’s name was divided into two letters, one hei was added to Abram and the other to Sarah.

The change in Sarai’s name involved the division of the yud of Sarai into two heis.Yud, numerically equivalent to ten, was split into two heis, numerically equivalent to 5, to share of Sarai’s spirituality. Therefore, the text reads, “Sarah is her name;” Sarai already represented all the spirituality of Sarah.

In fact this yud taken from Sarai’s name was later added to her descendant’s name, Joshuah, Moses’ successor. He was one of the 12 spies sent to survey the land of Israel. Though his name was originally Hoshea, Moshe changed his name to Yehoshuah, Joshua, gifting him with the present of Sarah’s spiritual yud. This gave him an added dimension of spirituality, so that he would have the courage to withstand the plot of the spies and bring back a true, positive report about the Land to the Jewish people. His new name achieved the sought after results, as only he and one other spy refuted the others’ negative report.

Aside from teaching us about Sarah’s incredible spiritual strength and her ability to share it with others, the episode demonstrates that there’s more to a name than meets the eye.

So what’s in a name? Apparently lots.

A name connects us to our soul. It provides us with spiritual ammunition, allowing us

A name connects us to our soul.

to access spiritual strengths we may have never known we had.How about you? What’s your Jewish name? Do you use it proudly? Is it time to research what it means and what hidden spiritual powers it holds?

Let’s Review:

  • When Abram was 90, G‑d appeared to him to make an everlasting covenant, change his name, and inform him that he would have a child from Sarah.
  • Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, meaning “the father of a multitude of nations.” With this new name, he underwent a spiritual transformation and was entrusted with a universal mission.
  • G‑d also informed Abraham that Sarai’s name would now be Sarah, “a princess for the whole world.”
  • The letter yud, which is numerically ten, was taken off of Sarai’s name and split into two heis, numerically five. One hei was added to Abram’s name and the other one to Sarah’s name. Therefore the text says, “Sarah is her name.” She already encompassed the full spirituality of her name.
  • Sarah’s yud was later added to Joshuah’s name to provide him with extra spiritual strength to negate the spies’ evil report on the Land.
  • When parents name their child, they experience a minor prophecy. A name connects an individual to his soul and can affect his destiny.

What’s your Jewish name? Do you use it proudly? What does it mean and what hidden powers does it hold?