Parashat Vayera 5782 / פָּרָשַׁת וַיֵּרָא
Read on 23 October 2021 / 17 Cheshvan 5782.
Parashat Vayera is the 4th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.
Parashat Vayera tells the stories of Abraham's three visitors, Abraham's bargaining with God over Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's two visitors, Lot's bargaining with the Sodomites, the flight of Lot, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, how Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father, how Abraham once again passed off his wife Sarah as his sister, the birth of Isaac, the expulsion of Hagar, disputes over wells, and the binding of Isaac (הָעֲקֵידָה, the Akedah).
Triennial year 3
1: 21:1-4 · 4 p’sukim ·
2: 21:5-13 · 9 p’sukim ·
3: 21:14-21 · 8 p’sukim ·
4: 21:22-34 · 13 p’sukim ·
5: 22:1-8 · 8 p’sukim ·
6: 22:9-19 · 11 p’sukim ·
7: 22:20-24 · 5 p’sukim ·
maf: 22:20-24 · 5 p’sukim ·
Haftarah for Ashkenazim: II Kings 4:1 - 4:37 · 37 p’sukim
Abraham is sitting by his tent recovering from his circumcision. Three strangers (who are actually angels or messengers of Hashem) appear and he offers them hospitality. These are angels and one of them tells Abraham that he will return next time at that time and Sarah will have a son. Sarah laughs at the absurdity of an 89-year-old woman baring a son. Hashem then appears to him and tells him that the outrage of Sodom and Gemorrah is so great that they are going to be destroyed. Abraham bargains with Hashem starting with fifty then that if ten righteous people are found in those cities, Hashem will spare them.
The two remaining angels now come to Sodom. (Angels convey a message. The third angel’s message of Sarah having a child was delivered and now leaves). Lot has moved into the city and is sitting at the gate of the city. As he sees the two strangers approach, he offers them hospitality. The people of Lot heard about the strangers and confronted Lot to release them to them so they could abuse them. Since all the people of Sodom confronted Lot, they proved that there was not a single righteous person in the city. The angels protect Lot by pulling him back into the house and blinding the people of Sodom with a bright light. The angels then tell Lot that they are about to destroy the cities and he should flee with his family and not look back as they fled. As they fled, a sulfurous fire rained down and destroyed the cities and everything in them. Lot’s wife turned around to look and become a pillar of salt. Abraham stood on a hill and viewed the destruction. Lot and his two daughters settled in a cave. His daughters thought the whole world was destroyed to they got their father drunk with wine and had relations with him so they could get pregnant and repopulate the world. Their sons were the fathers of Moab and Ammon, respectively.
Abraham and Sarah now travel to Gerar (Phillistia) where they meet King Abimelech. Abimelech sees Sarah and Abraham tells him she is his sister. Before Abimelech approaches her, Hashem comes to him in a dream and tells him who they are and to leave Sarah alone. Abimelech then confronts Abraham who complains that there is no “fear of G-d” there. Abimelech gives Abraham livestock and slaves as compensation and returns Sarah to him. Abraham then prays to Hashem and the previously barren women there now get pregnant.
Sarah now gives birth and Hashem tells them to name him “Isaac”. Ishmael is playing with Isaac, and sages believe he was trying to hurt him. Sarah tells Abraham to banish them. Hashem agrees with this and they are sent away. Their supplies run out and Hagar places Ishmael away from her so she won’t see him suffer. An angle approaches her and shows her a nearby well. The angel tells Hagar he will give rise to a great nation. Abraham and Abimelech and his general Phicol make a pact that Abraham owns a well that he dug. Gifts of sheep are given to seal the deal.
Hashem now asks Abraham to offer Isaac. Abraham takes him, accompanied by two servants up to Mount Moriah. After a three day journey, he and Isaac travel alone to where they make an altar with wood which Isaac has carried. Abraham prepares Isaac by binding him. As Abraham raises the knife to strike Isaac, an angel stays his hand. He then sees a ram which he sacrifices instead. Finally, genealogy introducing Rebekah, the future wife of Isaac, is enumerated.