Chavarah- Jewish Community Learning

A blog of Jewish study and traditions. Notes from classes: Torah Study with Rabbi Marder, Toledot and Shabbaton as well as other details found of interest.

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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Avimelach hears God

Avimelach ordered by God to restore Abrahams wife
Abraham is a prophet Abraham will pray for Avimelach

Prayer is intended to shift our consciousness.
Praying for healing. (Abraham will pray for his healing.)
Our prayer for healing is traced to the episode on leprosy. Current prayer we use is written and composed by Debbie Friedman and Drorah Setel -

Controversy about speaking an ill persons name On one side it may be invasion of privacy. On the other hand it notifies others to the fact and encourage them to reach out to them.

If unaware that you are being prayed for it doesn't necessarily make a difference.

Hirsch's perspective on prayer seems a bit cold in that it is only between an individual and God. The emotional power of prayer for others is evident.

Relationship is at the heart of prayer. Jerome Groopman Physician working on AIDS prayed for his patients (Book: How Doctors Think)

Kushner - God not all powerful. ( Book: When bad things happen to Good People)

What about in the cases of terminal illness? It may = not seem right to pray for healing. Focus on spiritual healing redefined as renewal rather than repair. Gender inclusive was also added. Source of blessing is within us. May 'we' have the courage.

Debbie Friedman would sing the prayer twice. First verse for self next verse for others.
Visit the sick and take care of all the

Jonathan Slater (Book: Mindful Jewish Living). Prayed for a train set began his thoughts on petition prayer. “God is not the cosmic bellhop.”

Who benefits from praying for healing?

Avimelach Returns Sarah to Abraham

Torah Study 3/5
Genesis 20:7-18. To end of chapter
Returning Sarah to Abraham. Avimelach confronts Abraham about this. Abraham explains the relationship. Avimelach does well by him.

v7. Legal principle from this verse. Talmud Bava Comma -if give back wife he will pray for you. Relates to Compensation for injury requires an apology. If pray for him he must be fully compensated.
Apology. Article by Lisa Belkin. July 2 article. Why hard to apologize? “Partial apology is not as good as no apology.”
Book : on apology - non apology apologies.

Difference between a compelling apology and a confusing one can make the outcome more positive.
Admission of responsibility and expression of remorse makes a difference. Tshuvah does not appear in Bible but comes from this concept.

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal.
Apology for others. Jewish law says that the non offender cannot be forgiven. But they can apologize even if it is not from the offender.
Apologies should be followed by a change in behavior to be effective.

Apology is a strategy to restore dignity. Including compensation for any shame and dignity. Assuming blame is part of this. Don't forget the interpersonal relationship part of the apology. (insurance today seems to take this away)

Sol Wasserman contribution: Song : You Were Right I Was Wrong

"If you fail to restore her...". Sarah to Abraham- Repeats the threat. You shall die. Biblical grammar of emphasis. You and everything that is yours - shall die. Extends to the nation Noahkite laws everyone is responsible. Reference to the attack on Dinah. All were punished.
Dream is over. Avimelach wakes up.

Here Avimelach alerts his ministers and they are frightened. Midrash is that they saw what happened in S&G and fear that it will happen there as well.
Avimelach confronts Abraham. Asks what he did to them? "great sin". Refers to adultery. Same phrase to Arron when referring to the idolatry of the people. Relation between adultery and idolatry.
Brought sin upon me and my kingdom. David Kimkee. The sin of the king effects the whole country. Corruption in the monarchy effects the entire country. Example of Clinton. His sin effected the trust and attitude of the people.

Abrahams response. No fear of God in this place. (phrase in Bible used in relation to events of moral conduct)
Nachum Sarna. Consciousness of existence of higher power that has impact on peoples behavior.
Relates to Holiness code in Leviticus.

R. Louis Jacobs: Religion without fear /awe of God is reduced to "Comfortable sentimentality."