Lech L'cha

We had an interesting Shabbat this week with a lot of conversation centering on G-d choosing Avraham to be the father of the Jewish nation. I heard this question at my weekly parsha class on Tuesday, and thought that it was, indeed, a good question. I mentioned the question to my oldest son, who is studying in yeshiva, and he got back to me on Friday with a 4 page written essay. He wrote it beautifully but I did not feel that it actually answered the question of why G-d chose Avraham, but rather justified His choice post facto.
Friday night we ate at a neighbor's house with another former neighbor who happened to be visiting. When we got around to my question of the week, "Why did G-d choose Avraham?", we were forced into Midrash-land to look for answers. The furnace came up, as well as other interesting Midrashim, but no answer that was based on the bare text. I presented my current idea that G-d called many people at that time (there was a lot of movement of tribes) to get up and move and spread the monotheistic word, but only Avraham listened (was open to hearing). Solving the problem of why G-d gives him the "brachot" at the beginning of the parsha (before Avraham has really done anything), I presented an idea that descendants and land are not rewards, but necessary tools for marketing these new religious ideas.
Shabbat morning at kiddush, I heard an interesting idea that, unlike most other religions, Judaism embraces questioning, noting Avraham questioning even G-d's promise that he will give him children. Stay tuned, more on this topic this coming week, with Avraham's lobbying on behalf of Sedom and Amorah.
For lunch we had a real crowd, us, two old-friend families, and one new-friend family. Elliot made garam masala pargiot, one of my favorites (I am not totally oblivious to food). Unlike some of these big meals that we occasionally have, this one really gelled. We discussed local government structures, had the "get to know you" conversations, and muddled through Hebrew language misspeaks. As the gamers arrived, we looked to them as resources for understanding and exploring the Hebrew language.

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