Vayeira: Gen 18-19 Part One

VayeiraVayera, or Va-yera (וַיֵּרָא — Hebrew for “and He appeared,” the first word in the parashah) is the fourth weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutesGenesis 18:1–22:24 The parashah has the most words (but not the most letters or verses) of any of the weekly Torah portions in the book of Genesis, and is made up of 7,862 Hebrew letters, 2,085 Hebrew words, and 147 verses, and occupy about 252 lines in a Torah Scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah). (In the book of Genesis, Parashah Miketz has the most letters, and Parashiyot Noach and Vayishlach have the most verses.)

We read it on the fourth Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in October or November. Jews also read parts of the parashah as Torah readings for Rosh HashanahGenesis 21 is the Torah reading for the first day of Rosh Hashanah, and Genesis 22 is the Torah reading for the second day of Rosh Hashanah. In Reform JudaismGenesis 22 is the Torah reading for the one day of Rosh Hashanah.

The parashah tells the stories of Abraham’s three visitors and Abraham’s bargaining with God over Sodom and GomorrahLot’s two visitors and Lot’s bargaining with the Sodomites, the flight of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, 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.

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