Torah Study Date
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Genesis (Bereishit) 18:1-5
Last week, we reviewed some topics from the previous week and discussed that the Shadai in El Shadai also means breasts, that Abraham went through a complete transformation–of his name, to Abraham, of his body, with circumcision, and of his mind or spirit, why the early rabbis and the medieval commentators thought circumcision was what would make Abraham tamim (with no definite answer).
We went on to discuss Abraham falling on his face again but this time while he was laughing at God’s statement that Sarah would have a son, that perhaps he fell on his face to hide the fact that he was laughing, that commentators often refer to Sarah laughing at the news of a son but leave out that Abraham also laughed (showing the usefulness of women’s commentaries), what Abraham meant when he said he hoped Ishmael would live before God (having to do with the fact that Abraham thought his heirs would come through Ishmael and now was being told that they would come through Isaac), that God listens to Abraham’s concerns about Ishmael and blesses him, that God makes Sarah and Abraham remember their laughter by naming the son Isaac, and that all the men were circumcised.
Our artwork this week is by Nahum HaLevi (Nathan C. Moskowitz), Jewish painter, neurosurgeon, neuroscientist, inventor, author, and assistant professor of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. The painting above is “The Divine Comedy – Timing with Isaactitude” and features Abraham and Sarah, YHVH appearing in the terebinth as well as the three strangers or angels who came to visit. The painting below is “The Family Abramovich – The Offered, the Parched and the Disinherited” and features Abraham and his family members–Hagar, Abraham’s concubine, and their son, Ishmael, Sarah, Abraham’s first wife, and their son, Isaac, Keturah, Abraham’s wife after Sarah dies, and their sons Zimron, Yakshon, Miduh, Midian, Yishbak and Shuach. Explanations of the paintings can be found here. I hope these striking and detailed paintings will provide you with some interest, fascination, and change of mood from the week’s events.