Genesis 18:1 - 22:24

II Kings 4:1 - 4:37

In this Torah portion, three guests arrive at Abraham and Sarah’s tent. They inform Abraham that God will give the elderly Sarah a child. The prophesy comes true, and they name their son Isaac. God informs Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah will be destroyed, though Abraham attempts to convince God otherwise. God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham obliges but is told that it was a test of faith and offers a ram to sacrifice instead. FULL SUMMARY

Honesty As A Form Of Idolatry

Honesty is a value only insofar as it leads to growth, compassion and peace.

More on this Torah Portion

Seeing The Ram

The miracle of the ram caught in the bushes was that, in the final moment, Abraham was able to perceive it as an alternative to sacrificing his son.

Obey God or Question God?

Abraham's responses to the destruction of Sodom and Gemorrah and to the command to sacrifice Isaac provide two conflicting models.

Avoid Hurting Words

How often do we speak carelessly and hurt those we love?

Being Absolutely Honest

Ethically, are there ever times to lie?

Violence Against Women

Parashat Vayera offers many instances of abuse towards female biblical characters.

Alone In The Wilderness

Hagar and Ishmael are cast away at Sarah's behest.

Challah for Parashat Vayera

Lot's wife--before and after.

Challenging the Heavens

Abraham attempts to save the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.

A Lesson in Hospitality

If people don't feel comfortable in the community, they won't stay long enough to enjoy its richness.

The Sin of Sodom and its Impact on Creation

Humanity's dominion over the earth must be for the sake of the Divine.

Blessings for All

We no longer need there to be unchosen children.

Balancing the Needs of Home and Community

Why did Abraham beg for mercy for the city of Sodom but not for his son Isaac?

And God Took Note?

Joy and laughter, often embodied in children, can help us begin to live again after extreme disappointment and tragedy.

Summary of Parashat Vayera

Isaac's birth, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the exile of Hagar and the ultimate sacrifice.

Laughing At Logic

The fates of Abraham and Sarah as compared to Sodom teach us that ethics, not power, determines the future.

Service And Community, In The Desert, Among Strangers

In his covenant with Avimelech, Abraham provides us with an example of how to build peace, justice, and kindness where they seem to be absent.

When Choosing Between Man And God, Choose Man!

We can attain godliness by acting with kindness towards others.