Saturday, October 27, 2012
Sarah’s barrenness was interpreted as a curse. Rather than trust in the Lord, she took it upon herself to tell Abraham to have relations with Hagar, Sarah’s maid, so that Abraham could have a son. Ishmael was born, and with it was begotten jealousy between the two women and their children, even to our own day. Modern day Arabs trace their ancestry back to Ishmael.
In chapter 17 we joyfully begin to recall the covenant that God made with Abraham. God introduces himself as El Shaddai, the name we translate as “The Almighty.”
God offers a covenant with Abraham. The sign of this covenant is circumcision: what comes forth in generative life is to be the gift of God and not simply the productivity of the flesh alone. May your heart be circumcised in a response to God’s abundant life.
Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.
The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.