Parashat Lekh Lekha (Genesis 12:1–17:27)

This parashah’s unfamiliar ground to me, as unlike Creation and the Great Deluge, this section of Torah is new to me.

12:10–20: It’s really not clear to me how Abram could have come to the conclusion that deception was necessary here. Did the Egyptians have a reputation, or is this just xenophobia?

13:1–13: There’s not much to say here, since we’re setting up for later parts, including some foreshadowing.

13:14–18: Welp. Fuck these verses in particular. They can be used as justification for the Jewish occupation of Palestine, and I think my opinion is fairly clear just from how I phrased that.

14:1–24: Nothing to say here.

15:1–21: More justification for colonialist bullshit, at least in 15:18–21. The rest sets us up for Exodus, I think.

16:1–16: This chapter is awful to my modern sensibilities, but then again so much of patriarchal societies were.

17:1–27: And so we come to the Covenant of Abraham. More colonialism and, in this case, justification for the Israelites’ conquest of Canaan.

This parashah has a lot of patriarchal and colonialist bullshit, I noticed. As we are called to wrestle with the text, however, it’s important that we not reënact the traumas borne upon us or that were done by our ancestors. We also have a responsibility to do the right thing, and in cases like this the ‘right thing’ is not just not repeating the harms done by our parents. Our goal should be coëxistence without diminishment, without hierarchy (for that is a form of diminishment).

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