Torah portion Lech L'cha

“Lech l’cha” (Hebrew for “Go for yourself”) is the Torah portion  in which a man named Abram (Hebrew for “Exulted father”) gets a calling from an invisible G-d. By thus, monotheism as we know it begins.

Summary: G-d speaks to Abram for the first time and tells him to go from his homeland to a place to be determined (the rabbis assume it is Jerusalem, albeit it is unnamed).  G-d promises to make Abram a great nation and a blessing among the other nations.  Abram, his wife Sarai, and his nephew Lot, along with their entourage and belongings go to Canaan.  YHVH promises him that Canaan will be the homeland for his descendants.  Abram and Sarai go down to Egypt because of a famine. Abram passes off Sarai as his sister; she becomes part of the Pharaoh’s harem.  When a plague ensues, the Pharaoh attributes it to his having another man’s wife in his harem, so he returns Sarai to Abram, telling them to leave.  The Pharaoh also adds to Abram's wealth. Abram, Sarai, Lot, and Abram's retinue return to Canaan. 

Abram's and Lot's herdsmen quarrel, so Abram tells Lot that they must part.  Lot chooses to go to Sodom.  There is a battle among the local kings and Lot is kidnapped.  Abram leads an army of 318 of his soldiers to save Lot. They succeed, plus they took spoils of war. The king of Salem was so grateful that he blessed Abram.  The king of Sodom offered Abram a share of the booty, which he declined.

Abram and Sarai are childless.  When YHVH promised him wealth, he asked if Eliezer, his servant, would be his heir.  YHVH said no, that the heir would be descended from Abram. Sarai grants Abram permission to consort with her Egyptian maid Hagar who gives birth to their son Ishmael (Hebew for “G-d will hear”).  YHVH renames Abram Abraham (“father of a multitude”) He makes a covenant with Abraham: a bilateral relationship between YHVH and Abraham's descendants, and a homeland.  The sign of the covenant is the circumcision, to be performed on all the men in Abraham's company, and thereafter to boys at the age of 8-days old.  YHVH promises him a son through Sarai, even though he is 99 and she is 90.  Abraham laughs and is told he will name his future son Isaac (Hebrew for "he will laugh").   Note: Abram is the first person in the Torah to be called a Hebrew (Gen 14:13).