|A SAMPLE OF CONTEMPORARY AND ANTHOLOGIZED
RABBINICAL COMMENTARY ON THE TORAH
God’s call to Abram.1
(H) – [And] HASHEM said to Abram.
When and where God said this to Abram is disputed among the commentators:
According to Ibn Ezra and Radak, God had already said this to Abram in Ur Kasdim, and as a result, he and his family set out for Canaan [see 11:31]. According to them, the words (H) should be rendered in the past perfect: Now HASHEM had [previously] said….
Cf. Zohar: Since Terach, an idolater, began the journey because he wanted to accompany Abraham, why did God, who delights in the repentance of sinners, not command them in the plural (H), get yourselves, thus including Terach and the others who were to comply? Rav Shimon replied. If you think that Terach left Ur Kasdim in order to repent of his past life, you are mistaken. The truth is that he was fleeing in order to save himself from his countrymen after the incident of Abraham in the fiery furnace [see comm. of Ramban in 11:32]. But when he reached Charan [and no longer feared them], Terach went no further. Therefore, the command was worded in the singular, only to Abraham, as if to say: go to give life to yourself and to all that follow you from now on. Terach, however, ‘saw not the light’ and repented only late in life [see comm. to 11:32 and 15:15].
According to Rashi and Ramban [but for different reasons], this command came to Abram when they were already in Charan. This is the view shared by most commentators.
(H) – Get yourself [lit. ‘go to you’ or: ‘go for yourself’].
[The addition of the seemingly superfluous word (H), to you, is noted. Since nothing in the Torah is without specific significance, and since if the Torah merely wanted to say ‘leave Charan and go to Canaan’, the imperative (H), go!, should have sufficed. Therefore, the inclusion of (H) requires interpretation].
Put at bottom of page:
Source: Genesis, Vol. II. A New Translation With a Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinical Sources. Translation and commentary by Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz. New York: Art Scroll-Mesorah Publications, 1978.
27] Now this is the line of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. 28] Haran died in the lifetime of his father Terah, in his native land, Ur of the Chaldeans. 29] Abram and Nahor took to themselves wives, the name of Abram’s wife being Sarai and that of Nahor’s wife Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30] Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.
31] Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan; but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there. 32] The days of Terah came to 205 years; and Terah died in Haran.
1] The LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2] I will make of you a great nation2,/and I will bless you;/ I will make your name great,/ And you shall be a blessing./ 3] I will bless those who bless you/ And curse him that curses you;/ And all the families of the earth/ Shall bless themselves3 by you.” 4] Abram went forth as the LORD had commanded him and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5] Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot and all the wealth that they had amassed, and the persons that they had acquired in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in the land of
11:28] Ur. In southeastern Mesopotamia, near the mouth of the Euphrates at the Persian Gulf/ Or Ura in northern Syria, which is much closer to Haran .
12:1] Your native land. However, according to a different tradition, Ur, not Haran, was Abraham’s native place (Gen. 11:26-28).
Harmonizers therefore render “land of your kindred.”