Summary of Genesis: Chapters 12-22

This article is an excerpt from our book

Buy Here


Parashat Lech Lecha

Verses: 126 [Siman: נמל”ו]

Haftorah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16


Number of Mitzvot:

There is a total of One Mitzvah in Parashat Noah. There is One positive command and Zero negative commands. The following are the commands in the order listed by the Sefer Hachinuch.

1.      Mitzvah 2/Positive 2: Bris Mila. To circumcise a boy on the 8th day.


Chapter 12

First Aliyah

  1. Abraham travels to Eretz Canaan:
  • G-d commands Abraham to leave his homeland to a land that he will be shown.
  • Abraham is blessed that through doing so, he will turn into a great nation and become famous. He will receive the power of blessing and curse.
  • Abraham was 75 years old at the time.
  • He left together with Lot, his nephew, and his wife Sarai, and all their followers, towards the land of Canaan.
  • Abraham arrived at the town of Shechem, known as Eilon Moreh.
  • G-d revealed Himself to Abraham there, and told him that his descendants will receive this land. Abraham built an altar in that area.
  • Abraham settled his tent on the mountain between Beth Ail and Ai and built an alter there.
  • Abraham continued traveling towards the south.
  1. Abraham travels to Egypt due to the famine:
  • There was a famine in Eretz Canaan and Abraham went down towards Egypt, to settle there temporarily.
  • When they came close to Egypt, Abraham told his wife that he realized how beautiful she is and that when the Egyptians will see her, they will kill him, her husband, and let her live. He therefore asked Sarai to tell them that she is his sister, and thus he too will live.


Second Aliyah

  1. Abraham and Sarah in Egypt:
  • When they arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians saw how beautiful she was, and the ministers of Pharaoh had her brought to Pharaoh. Pharaoh gave Abraham many cattle and slaves as a present.
  • G-d afflicted Pharaoh and his household with a great plague due to them taking Sarai. Pharaoh confronted Abraham saying that he should have told them that she is his wife, and not his sister. Sarai was then returned to Abraham.
  • Abraham and his wife were then escorted out of the country and traveled back to Israel, to the south of the country. He came back from Egypt with many cattle, gold and silver.


Chapter 13

Third Aliyah

  1. Lot separates from Abraham:
  • Lot likewise had with him a lot of cattle, and together with the cattle of Abraham, there was not enough grazing land available for both of them. This caused their shepherds to quarrel. Abraham pleaded with Lot that they should not quarrel and rather Lot should travel in a separate direction.
  • Lot chose to travel towards the city of Sodom. The people of Sodom were very evil.
  • G-d blesses Abraham with inheritance of Israel: After Lots departure, G-d appeared to Abraham and reinsured him that his descendants will inherit all of the land of Canaan. G-d instructed Abraham to walk the land, in both its length and width to see how much he will be given. G-d promised Abraham that his descendants will be as many as the sand of the earth.
  • Abraham then settled in Elonei Mamrei, which is Hebron, and built an altar for G-d.

Chapter 14

Fourth Aliyah

  1. The battle of the 4 and 5 kings:
  • Amrafel, the king of Shinar, Aryoch the king of Elasar, Kedarla’omer the king of Ailam, and Tidal the king of Goyim waged war with Bera the king of Sodom, Birsha the king of Amorah, Shinav the king of Admah, Shemaiver the king of Tzevoyim, and Bela the king of Tzoar. They waged war in the valley of Sidim, which is the dead sea.
  • For 12 years the five kings served Kedarla’omer and for 13 years they rebelled. In the 14th year, Kedarla’omer came with his three allies and waged war against them. The four kings overtook the five kings and their people fled.
  • Lot was taken captive during the war, and a certain fugitive came and informed Abraham of what occurred.
  • When Abraham heard this, he went out to wage war with members of his house, a total of 318, and he chased the four kings until Dan. He was successful in overcoming the four kings and drove them out until Damascus.
  • King of Sodom/Malki Tzedek: Abraham returned all the stolen property, and Lot and the people, back [to their homes]. The king of Sodom came to greet Abraham after the victory. Malki Tzedek, the king of Shaleim, came to greet Abraham and offered him bread and wine. He then gave praise to G-d for protecting Abraham.
  • Abraham gave him [i.e. Malki Tzedek] a tenth of all his possessions.

Fifth Aliyah

  1. The victory of the war and distribution of booty:
  • The king of Sodom offered Abraham to keep the spoils, but return the people [to his nation]. Abraham refused to take any of the spoils, so people would not say that the king of Sodom made him wealthy. However, he did request payment for his people who joined him in battle.

Chapter 15

  • G-d blesses Abraham with children: After the above occurrence, G-d appeared to Abraham and reassured him of his great reward. Abraham responded by saying that his reward is irrelevant as he has no heirs amongst his offspring who will inherit it. G-d then promised Abraham that he will have a child who will inherit him. He took Abraham outside and pointed towards the stars in heaven saying that his descendants will be as many as the stars of the sky.

Sixth Aliyah

  1. The covenant of Bein Habetarim:
  • Abraham requested from G-d a sign that in fact he would inherit the land of Canaan.
  • Halving the animals: G-d instructed Abraham to take three calves, three goats, three rams, a dove, and a young bird. Abraham cut each one in half, with exception for the birds. A raven came to eat the carcasses and Abraham had to shoo him away.
  • Vision of the Egyptian exile: Abraham fell into a deep sleep. In his sleep he felt a great darkness and fear. G-d then told Abraham that his children will be enslaved and oppressed for 400 years in a foreign nation. G-d promised to judge that nation and that the Jewish people will leave that nation with great wealth. You, Abraham, will die of good old age and return to your fathers in peace. After three generations of exile in Egypt, in the fourth generation, your children will return to inherit the land of Canaan.
  • A great flame came and passed between the halved carcasses.
  • Covenant to inherit the land to Abraham: On that day G-d made a covenant with Abraham to give the land to his descendants, from the river of Egypt until the great Euphrates river. The lands of Kini, Kenizi, Kadmoni, Hittite, Perizi, Refaim, Amori, Canaanite, Girgashite and Jebusite.


Chapter 16

  1. Abraham marries Hagar:
  • Sarai, who had not given birth to a child for Abraham, had a maid whose name was Hagar. She offered Abraham to marry her maid, so he have children and so she merits to have children through her. Abraham was given Hagar in marriage after settling in the land of Canaan for ten years. Hagar became pregnant right away and began to slight her master, Sarai, in her eyes.
  • Hagar flees: Sarai was upset and confronted Abraham for being complacent towards the behavior of Hagar. As a result of the complaint, Abraham returned Hagar to Sarai, and she oppressed her to the point that she fled.
  • Angel blesses Hagar: An angel found Hagar near a well in the desert. She told the angel that she was running away from her master Sarai. The angel told her to return to her master Sarai, and be subservient to her. The angel promised her that her children will be plenty and multiply to the point they are uncountable. He told her to call the son that she will have the name Ishmael. He will be a wild man, his hands reaching everywhere, and living everywhere.
  • Ishmael is born: Hagar gave birth to a son for Abraham and Abraham called him Ishmael. Abraham was 86 years old at the time of the birth.

Chapter 17

  1. Circumcision:
  • At the age of 99, G-d appeared to Abraham and asked him to perform a covenant with Him.
  • Avram becomes Abraham-Will become father of all nations: As a result, G-d promised that Abraham would become a father for all nations, and his name will be changed from Avram to Abraham in light of this position. He will have a multitude of offspring and many kings will sprout from him.


Seventh Aliyah

  • Will inherit Israel: In merit of this Mitzvah, G-d will make a covenant with Abraham’s descendants and be considered their G-d for eternity. They will be given the land of Canaan.
  • Laws of circumcision: G-d requested that Abraham’s descendants guard this covenant. What is the covenant? For every male to circumcise himself. The removal of the foreskin will be a sign and covenant between us and G-d. All household members are to be circumcised at eight days old. One who does not circumcise himself will be cut off from his nation, as he has denied My covenant.
  • Saraiy becomes Sarah: G-d told Abraham to no longer call her by the name Sarai, as from now on Sarah is her name.
  • Sarah is blessed with a child: G-d told Abraham that his wife Sarah will give birth to a son for him, and he will be blessed and become a great nation. Abraham fell to his face on the ground excited at the great news that he will have a child at 100 years old and his wife at 90 years old. Abraham exclaimed to G-d “If only Ishmael will live before you.” G-d responded that Sarah will give him a son in exactly one year from now, and the covenant will continue with him. G-d told Abraham to name his son Isaac, and He will establish an everlasting covenant with his descendants.
  • G-d told Abraham that from Ishmael will be born 12 princes.
  • The circumcision: After G-d departed, Abraham took Ishmael and all of his household and circumcised them. Abraham was 99 years old at the time of his circumcision and Ishmael was 13 years old.


Parashat Vayeira

Verses: 147 [Siman:אמנון ]

Haftorah: Kings 2 4:1-37[1]

Number of Mitzvot:

There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parashat Vayeira.

Chapter 18

First Aliyah

  1. Abraham receives guests:
  • Abraham sat in the opening of the tent in the heat of the day when G-d visited him [on the third day after his circumcision]. Abraham noticed three people coming towards him and he ran to them from the entrance of his tent. Upon approaching them, Abraham bowed to the ground and asked them to come over and have some water, wash their feet, rest under the tree, and eat a fresh meal. The men acquiesced to his request.
  • The meal: Abraham rushed to his tent and asked Sarah to bake bread. Abraham then went on to tell the lad to prepare meat from a fresh slaughtered calf. Abraham served the guests butter and milk and the calf meat.
  1. Abraham and Sarah are blessed with children:
  • The guest then asked Abraham as to the whereabouts of his wife and then promised them that they will have a son next year.
  • Sarah was already past menopause and Abraham was old, and she thus laughed at the suggestion that she could still bare a child. G-d asked Abraham as to why his wife laughed at the notion of her giving birth, as nothing is outside of G-d’s hands.
  • G-d reassured Abraham that he will have a son.


Second Aliyah

  • Sarah denied having scorned with disbelief the blessing of children that she received.


  1. Abraham defends the city of Sodom:
  • Abraham sees the guests walk off towards the city of Sodom.
  • G-d tells Abraham of his plan to destroy the five cities of the metropolitan of Sodom.
  • Abraham implores G-d to spare the city if there are righteous men in the city. G-d replies to Abraham that there are not even ten righteous men in the city.

Chapter 19

Third Aliyah

  1. The destruction of Sodom:
  • Lot hosts the angels: Two angels arrived to Sodom and saw Lot sitting by the entrance of the city. Lot greeted the angels and invited them to come over to his home and bathe and sleep. The people of Sodom surround the home and ask for the guests to be taken out. Lot offered the mob his daughters instead. The mob is stricken with blindness.
  • Lot’s escape: The angels take Lot, his wife, and his daughters out of the city. Lot requests not to go to Abraham, but rather to a nearby city that has few sins.


Fourth Aliyah

  • The angels acquiesce to Lot’s request and don’t destroy this city. Lot arrives to Tzoar.
  • The destruction of Sodom: G-d rained upon Sodom and Amora fire and brimstone, and turned over the city of Sodom and its neighboring cities.
  • Lots wife: As they were fleeing from the city, Lots wife turned around and turned into a pillar of salt.
  • Abraham viewed the aftermath of destruction of the city and saw smoke arising from that area.
  1. Lot and his daughters:
  • Lot and his daughters are afraid to remain in Tzoar and they thus move to the mountains.
  • The daughters, fearing the end of mankind, gave their father wine and slept with him, for the sake of having offspring. They became pregnant and each had a child from their father. The older daughter gave birth to a son called Moab while the younger daughter gave birth to a son called Amon.

Chapter 20

  1. Sarah is abducted by Abimelech:
  • Abraham moves to the province of Abimelech and tells them that Sarah is his sister.
  • Abimelech takes Sarah to be his wife.
  • G-d came to Abimelech in a dream and warned him against touching Sarah, lest he die, as she is a married woman. Abimelech argues with G-d, saying that he is innocent, as he was told that she is his sister, and not married.
  • Abimelech was forced to return Sarah to Abraham. Abraham was asked to pray for them [to be healed], and Abimelech severely warned his townspeople from touching Sarah.
  • Abimelech confronted Abraham for misleading him, and in the end, Abimelech gave Abraham and Sarah cattle and money to compensate them for their suffering.
  • Abraham davened for them to be healed, as all of their body cavities were sealed, and G-d answered his prayers.

Chapter 21

  1. Sarah gives birth to Isaac:
  • G-d remembers the promise she made to Sarah and she conceives.
  • She gave birth to a son for Abraham, exactly a year from the previous year’s prediction.
  • Abraham named the son, Isaac, and circumcised him at eight days old, as he was commanded.

Fifth Aliyah

  • Abraham was 100 years old at the time of birth.
  • When Isaac was weaned at 24 months, Abraham and Sarah made a big feast.
  1. Ishmael and Hagar are expelled from the home:
  • Ishmael was mischievous, and performed dangerous and forbidden activity.
  • Sarah asked Abraham to expel Ishmael and his mother from the home, and remove him from being his heir. Abraham was very distressed over this request. G-d reassures Abraham to listen to the request of his wife, and that his son Ishmael will be looked after. Ishmael will become a great nation with many descendants
  • Angel saves Ishmael: That morning Abraham sent off Ishmael and his mother with some bread and a flask of water. The water was quickly finished, and a sick Ishmael was placed under a bush, by his mother Hagar, who went to the side and cried in prayer. G-d heard their prayers and sent an angel to help them. Suddenly, a well appeared, from which Hagar gave Ishmael to drink.
  • They lived in the desert of Paran, and G-d was with the lad. Ishmael became an archer. His mother Hagar married him off to a girl from Egypt.


Sixth Aliyah

  1. Abraham and Abimelech make a treaty:
  • After Abimelech saw all the Divine assistance Abraham received, he asked to make a treaty between him and his descendants and Abraham and his descendants. Abraham agreed to the treaty.
  • The fight over the well: Abraham then confronted Abimelech for letting his people steal his well. Abimelech denied any wrongdoing, saying that this is the first time he is hearing of the incident.
  • The treaty: Abraham took cattle and gave it to Abimelech and the two made a treaty. Abraham gave Abimelech seven sheep as a sign of ownership of his well. The area of the well became known as Beer-Sheba.
  • Abraham built a hotel from which he would spread the name of G-d

Chapter 22

Seventh Aliyah

  1. The offering of Isaac:
  • After the above occurrences, G-d decided to test Abraham, and asked him to take his son Isaac to a certain mountain to be slaughtered like an offering.
  • Abraham did as he was told, and the next morning took with him Isaac, the lads, and wood and set forth for the destination to be revealed by G-d.
  • On the third day, Abraham got a glimpse of the area of destination. Abraham told the rest of his encampment to remain set in place and he and Isaac will travel alone. Abraham brought with him the wood, fire, and knife.
  • Isaac questioned his father as to the whereabouts of the lamb for the offering. Abraham replied that G-d will show them the lamb.
  • Upon arrival, Abraham built an altar, set up the wood, bound Isaac and placed him over the wood that was on the altar.
  • Abraham lifted his hand with knife, ready to slaughter his son. Suddenly, an angel appeared and told Abraham not to slaughter his son. Abraham then saw a ram stuck in the bushes and offered it as an offering instead of his son.
  • Abraham called this mountain, “G-d Yireh”
  • An angel called out to Abraham a second time and blessed Abraham with an abundance of offspring and descendants.
  • Abraham returned to the encampment and they made their way back to Beer-Sheba.
  1. Abraham is told of the birth of Rebecca:
  • Milkah, the daughter of Nahor, the brother of Abraham, had eight children. One of those children, Bethuel, had a daughter named Rebecca.


[1] So is followed by most Ashkenazi communities and Chabad. However, some Ashkenazi communities, as well as the Sepharadim read only until verse 4:23.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.