Get seven complete and original sermons for Parshat Vayeira.
1. Welcoming Guests: Where Is The Cut Off Point?
Welcoming guests is one of the greatest mitzvot. But should our homes be open to everyone? How would the Torah address the “caravan” of thousands of refugees approaching the US border? We find the fascinating answer in a story explaining the difference between the welcoming of (the same) guests by Abraham and by his nephew, Lot, in this week’s Torah reading.
2. Do You Love G-d More than You Love People?
A troubling stereotype about religion – that is unfortunately often true – is that G-d-fearing people are more sensitive to their own beliefs than to other people. As a result, such “people of faith” are perceived as being arrogant, condescending and judgmental. In truth, you really don’t love G-d if you do not love His creatures. As we learn from none other than the pioneer of all religion – Abraham.
3. Terror Attack: Islam and Infidels
This week’s missile attacks on Israel brings to the fore yet again the simmering forces haunting the world: Muslim extremism and the dangers of distorted religious passions. Our Torah portion offers us invaluable lessons from Abraham how to treat infidels and other challenging issues of our times.
4. Giving Birth to Laughter
What can laughter teach us about ourselves? Studies show that laughter may be the best medicine. Fascinatingly, laughter as a healing agent is rooted in Yitzchak – his name means “laughter” – about whom we read in this week’s Torah portion, thousands of years before modern research discovered its remedial powers.
5. Three Reactions to Circumcision
Is circumcision humane or barbaric? Some ask, especially lately, how is circumcising an innocent eight-day-old baby not a form of abuse? The story of Abraham teaches us the profound difference between circumcision and mutilation. Between sanctifying and scarring.
6. A Postcard From Sin City
What can we learn from the evil ways of Sodom? What can the corruption of its denizens teach us today, so that we may use our wealth, resources and power to refine and perfect the world? What can Sodom teach us how to be kinder and gentler in our current situation – when our political leaders are so at odds with each others, and our country is so polarized?
7. Sandy, Sodom and Stalin
In the wake of Hurricane Michael which pummeled the Florida panhandle, and other devastating storms, some wonder whether we can draw parallels of this disaster to the destruction by fire of Sodom and Gomorrah which, eerily, we read about in this week’s Torah portion.