The third portion of the book of B’resheet/Genesis is Lech Lecha, which means “Get Yourself Out”
Torah Portion: Genesis 12:1 – 17:27
Haftorah: Isaiah 40:27 – 41:16
Apostolic Writings: Romans 4:1-25
You can read or listen to the portions below:
Isaiah 40:27 – 41:16
Why do you complain, Ya‘akov;
why do you say, Isra’el,
“My way is hidden from The LORD,
my rights are ignored by my G-d”?
Haven’t you known, haven’t you heard
that the everlasting G-d, The LORD,
the Creator of the ends of the earth,
does not grow tired or weary?
His understanding cannot be fathomed.
He invigorates the exhausted,
he gives strength to the powerless.
Young men may grow tired and weary,
even the fittest may stumble and fall;
but those who hope in The LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar aloft as with eagles’ wings;
when they are running they won’t grow weary,
when they are walking they won’t get tired.
“Keep silence before me, coastlands!
Let the peoples replenish their strength!
Let them approach; then let them speak.
Let us assemble for judgment.”
Who has raised from the east one who is just
and called him to be in his service?
He hands nations over to him
and subjects kings to him;
his sword reduces them to dust,
his bow to driven straw.
He pursues them, passing on unscathed,
hardly touching the path with his feet.
Whose work is this? Who has brought it about?
He who called the generations from the beginning,
“I, The LORD, am the first;
and I am the same with those who are last.”
The coastlands have seen and became afraid.
The ends of the earth have trembled.
They have approached, and now they have come.
Every one helps his fellow workman,
everyone says to his brother, “Be strong!”
The woodworker encourages the goldsmith,
the polisher encourages the hammerer;
he says of the soldering, “Yes, that’s good,”
then puts nails in [the idol] to keep it from moving.
“But you, Isra’el, my servant;
Ya‘akov, whom I have chosen,
descendants of Avraham my friend,
I have taken you from the ends of the earth,
summoned you from its most distant parts
and said to you, ‘You are my servant’ —
I have chosen you, not rejected you.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you;
don’t be distressed, for I am your G-d.
I give you strength, I give you help,
I support you with my victorious right hand.
All those who were angry with you
will be disgraced, put to shame;
those who fought against you
will be destroyed, brought to nothing.
You will seek them but not find them,
those who contended with you;
yes, those who made war with you
will be brought to nothing, nothing at all.
For I, The LORD, your G-d,
say to you, as I hold your right hand,
‘Have no fear; I will help you.
Have no fear, Ya‘akov, you worm,
you men of Isra’el!’
I will help you,” says The LORD;
“Your redeemer is the Holy One of Isra’el.
“I will make you into a threshing-sledge,
new, with sharp, pointed teeth,
to thresh the mountains and crush them to dust,
to reduce the hills to chaff.
As you fan them, the wind will carry them off,
and the whirlwind will scatter them.
Then you will rejoice in The LORD,
you will glory in the Holy One of Isra’el.
Then what should we say Avraham, our forefather, obtained by his own efforts? For if Avraham came to be considered righteous by G-d because of legalistic observances, then he has something to boast about. But this is not how it is before G-d! For what does the Tanakh say? “Avraham put his trust in G-d, and it was credited to his account as righteousness.” Now the account of someone who is working is credited not on the ground of grace but on the gound of what is owed him. However, in the case of one who is not working but rather is trusting in him who makes ungodly people righteous, his trust is credited to him as righteousness.
In the same way, the blessing which David pronounces is on those whom G-d credits with righteousness apart from legalistic observances:
“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered over;
Blessed is the man whose sin The LORD
will not reckon against his account.”
Now is this blessing for the circumcised only? Or is it also for the uncircumcised? For we say that Avraham’s trust was credited to his account as righteousness; but what state was he in when it was so credited — circumcision or uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision! In fact, he received circumcision as a sign, as a seal of the righteousness he had been credited with on the ground of the trust he had while he was still uncircumcised. This happened so that he could be the father of every uncircumcised person who trusts and thus has righteousness credited to him, and at the same time be the father of every circumcised person who not only has had a b’rit-milah, but also follows in the footsteps of the trust which Avraham avinu had when he was still uncircumcised.
For the promise to Avraham and his seed that he would inherit the world did not come through legalism but through the righteousness that trust produces. For if the heirs are produced by legalism, then trust is pointless and the promise worthless. For what law brings is punishment. But where there is no law, there is also no violation.
The reason the promise is based on trusting is so that it may come as G-d’s free gift, a promise that can be relied on by all the seed, not only those who live within the framework of the Torah, but also those with the kind of trust Avraham had — Avraham avinu for all of us. This accords with the Tanakh, where it says, “I have appointed you to be a father to many nations.” Avraham is our father in G-d’s sight because he trusted G-d as the one who gives life to the dead and calls nonexistent things into existence. For he was past hope, yet in hope he trusted that he would indeed become a father to many nations, in keeping with what he had been told, “So many will your seed be.” His trust did not waver when he considered his own body — which was as good as dead, since he was about a hundred years old — or when he considered that Sarah’s womb was dead too. He did not by lack of trust decide against G-d’s promises. On the contrary, by trust he was given power as he gave glory to G-d, for he was fully convinced that what G-d had promised he could also accomplish. This is why it was credited to his account as righteousness.
But the words, “it was credited to his account . . . ,” were not written for him only. They were written also for us, who will certainly have our account credited too, because we have trusted in him who raised Yeshua our Lord from the dead — Yeshua, who was delivered over to death because of our offenses and raised to life in order to make us righteous.