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.

IF you want to be part of our Chavarah email group let me know at

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Non aggression pact with Avimelach.

Torah study 6-18 Genesis 21:22-26
Non aggression pact with Avimelach.

(There are no Hebrew names that begin with f – that is how we know the general is not a Hebrew name)

Avimelach brings his general to the celebration if Isaacs weaning.
Swear to me by God. - Most solemn and binding oath.
SRHirsch. Take a shevouah. Seven is the root word. Week comes from seven.
Oath comes from seven. Originally people would use seven of something to bind an oath. Link to Sabbath. If one breaks an oath it is as if they are doing a forbidden thing and will suffer Gods wrath.

Oaths… Relate to the word for vow. Neder - take on a restriction or a pledge to do something. Would do this for gratitude, guilt or desperation. Enacted through speech not just thought.
Should not make vows lightly. Must fulfill the vow. Vows take on the weight of a commandment. (We do not make vows in a Jewish wedding)

“Bli Neder” (without a vow) is to promise without a vow.

Annulling of vows – High Holidays: Ceremony of release from vows where people are absolved of their vows. This done in front of three people who act as judges. (done at the local day school - to teach the kids.)

Be careful about commitments , do not take on what you cannot do, and know how to release from vows appropriately.
Yom Kippur. Legal ceremony where Jews are absolved of vows. Kol Nidre. Has created problems for the community. The prayer is more popular because of the music rather than the literal meaning of the words. Absolved of vows to self and to God. Not to include business contracts and the like. Modern translations of progressive movements add language to clarify that these are those that we have not been able to fulfill.
Harold Kirchner. May we have the strength to fulfill our commitments. His reversal of the exact words to respond to the criticism.

(Back to the text:) Avimelach. Swear to me by God HERE. Why here?
Swear in your own home. Since Avimelach came to him.
Ili Munk. Same word in ch 15;16 - the fourth generation will return HERE. Relates to the land of Israel.

Not deal falsely- Sheker. Usually refer to lie. Here guilty of breach of contract.

Agreement of non aggression. (full version in David's oath)
multi generation treaty for no war between them.
Why improper for him to agree to a multiple generational agreement?
Impact seen later in the Book of Joshua. Not conquer Jerusalem because of this agreement that Abraham made. Thus not conquered until David.

SRH. Avimelach doesn't reciprocate in this multi generation factor... Shows that Abraham's descendants take the contractural agreements seriously and yet maybe not Avimelech's descendants. Itnis a unilateral Agreement...

Mysterious seven sheep next time.


Post a Comment

<< Home