Torah portion Va'yeira, Gen 18:1 - 22:24

 “Va’yeira” is Hebrew for “And He appeared.”Throughout this portion, there is a myriad of references to vision.  G-d appears to Abraham; Abraham sees three visitors; Abraham takes Isaac for a sacrifice in Mt. Moriah (the mountain of vision). 

Summary: YHVH appears before Abraham who is sitting at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day.  Abraham sees three men whom he invites into his tent.  He has Sarah and his servant prepare a meal for them.  One of them retells  the prophecy from last week’s portion that Sarah at 90 will have a child in a year.  Sarah laughs to herself at the absurdity of it ("This is after I have not had sexual pleasure and my husband is old," she says to herself). YHVH hears her and assures Abraham and Sarah that nothing is too difficult for YHVH.  Two of the men proceed to visit Lot in Sodom.  YHVH threatens to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness.  Abraham tries to negotiate with YHVH to save Sodom of there are 10 righteous men.  The two men who left Abraham arrive in Sodom where the townsmen wish to have their way with them. Lot protects his guests, offering the townsmen his two single daughters instead, whom they refuse.  The two guests (now referred to as angels), render the men in Sodom blind.  The angels tell Lot to bring his family out of Sodom.  Lot's married children refuse to leave. mocking Lot instead.  The angels tell Lot to take his wife and his two single daughters before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  One of the angels tells them not to look back.  As they leave, YHVH rains fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot's wife looks back and she is turned into a pillar of salt.  

Lot and his two surviving daughters take refuge in a cave.  The daughters, fearing the end of human life, seduce their father and they give birth to Moab and Ben-Ammi, the progenitors of the Moabites and Ammonites, respectively.

Abraham once again presents his wife as his sister, this time to Avimelech. She is restored to him.  A year after the visit from the guests, Sarah has a son whom they name Isaac (Hebrew for “he will laugh.”)  When Isaac is two years old, Sarah casts out Hagar and Ishmael, with Abraham’s support.  An angel of YHVH shows Hagar a well and saves their lives.

Elohim tests Abraham.  He tells him to take Isaac to a place to be determined for a sacrifice.  Abraham, along with two unnamed servants, head out with Isaac.  Abraham takes Isaac alone to Mount Mariah to be a burnt offering.  And angel stops Abraham, and Abraham sacrifices a ram instead.

The Torah portion ends with the genealogy of Abraham's brother Nahor and his wife Milcah and his concubine Reumah.  Rebecca, the woman who will became Isaac's wife, is descended from Nahor and Milcah through their son Bethuel.