Below is a collection of Parashat Lekh Lekha resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
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DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Question #1: Is it ever OK to lie? When there is a famine in Canaan, Abram and his family go to Egypt (where there is enough food). Abram tells Sarai, his wife, to say that she is his sister and not his wife because he is afraid his life will be in danger and he will be killed and she will be taken by the king. Was it OK for Abram to lie in this situation?
Look inside the text (Bereshit 12:10-12) –
וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ וַיֵּרֶד אַבְרָם מִצְרַיְמָה לָגוּר שָׁם כִּי כָבֵד הָרָעָב בָּאָרֶץ – There was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to travel there, for the famine was severe in the land
וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר הִקְרִיב לָבוֹא מִצְרָיְמָה וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל שָׂרַי אִשְׁתּוֹ הִנֵּה נָא יָדַעְתִּי כִּי אִשָּׁה יְפַת מַרְאֶה אָתְּ – As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are.
וְהָיָה כִּי יִרְאוּ אֹתָךְ הַמִּצְרִים וְאָמְרוּ אִשְׁתּוֹ זֹאת וְהָרְגוּ אֹתִי וְאֹתָךְ יְחַיּוּ: יג אִמְרִי נָא אֲחֹתִי אָתְּ לְמַעַן יִיטַב לִי בַעֲבוּרֵךְ וְחָיְתָה נַפְשִׁי בִּגְלָלֵךְ – If the Egyptians see you, and think, ‘She is his wife,’ they will kill me and let you live.
Question #2: When Abram returns to Canaan, he and his nephew Lot have a great deal of sheep and their shepherds begin to fight and can’t seem to share the same land. The land has been promised by God to Abram, and he is older and should be respected by Lot. Yet, Abram approaches Lot and is very generous in offering him the first choice in where to live and graze his sheep. Did he do the right thing by offering this compromise? When you’re having an argument and you know you’re right, do you ever compromise just to “keep the peace”? Is compromise always preferable?
Look inside the text (Bereshit 13:5-9) –
וְגַם לְלוֹט הַהֹלֵךְ אֶת אַבְרָם הָיָה צֹאן וּבָקָר וְאֹהָלִים – Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,
וְלֹא נָשָׂא אֹתָם הָאָרֶץ לָשֶׁבֶת יַחְדָּו כִּי הָיָה רְכוּשָׁם רָב וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לָשֶׁבֶת יַחְדָּו – so that the land could not support them staying together; for their possessions were so great that they could not remain together
וַיְהִי רִיב בֵּין רֹעֵי מִקְנֵה אַבְרָם וּבֵין רֹעֵי מִקְנֵה לוֹט וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי אָז ישֵׁב בָּאָרֶץ – And there was fighting between the men of Abram’s cattle and those of Lot’s cattle—The Canaanites and Perizzites were then living in the land.
וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָם אֶל לוֹט אַל נָא תְהִי מְרִיבָה בֵּינִי וּבֵינֶךָ וּבֵין רֹעַי וּבֵין רֹעֶיךָ כִּי אֲנָשִׁים אַחִים אֲנָחְנוּ – Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no difficulty between you and me, between my men and yours, for we are family.
הֲלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ לְפָנֶיךָ הִפָּרֶד נָא מֵעָלָי אִם הַשְּׂמֹאל וְאֵימִנָה וְאִם הַיָּמִין וְאַשְׂמְאִילָה – Is not the whole land before you? Let us separate: if you go north, I will go south; and if you go south, I will go north.”
Question #3: Pharaoh pays Abram handsomely for Sarai, whom Pharaoh believed was Abram’s sister. As a result, Avram’s wealth increases substantially. Is it ethical to reap the benefits of an immoral act? Similar debates raged after the Holocaust as to whether it was appropriate to accept reparations from Nazi Germany. Would doing so effectively put a price on human life?
Question #4: Why did God demand Abram leave his family to pursue the Divine mission? Might Abram not have been more successful operating within a familiar culture – why did he need to leave and enter a new place in order to fulfill his destiny?
LESSON PLANS AND ARTICLES
Multiple Intelligence – Examples for Chumash – This lesson plan for middle school and high school students utilizes the story of the war of the kings as an example of a different educational approach.
Are Their Camels in Canaan? – This article analyzes the first verse in Parashat Lekh Lekha, to help gain an understanding of the spiritual and physical environment that surrounded Abram.